Anti-tobacco Bill in the offing

KATHMANDU: Respecting the rights of all people to get protection from exposure to tobacco smoke, the Statutory Committee of the government is likely to give final push to Anti-Tobacco Bill by mid February.

Once passed, the anti-tobacco Bill will prohibit smoking in public vehicles, health organisations, child welfare and childcare institutions as well as educational institutions. The draft Bill also prohibits the involvement of children below 16 years of age on sale, distribution and purchase of tobacco-related products.

Anyone who defy the ban and smoke in public places will pay a minimum

fine of Rs 100. While companies that

keep hoarding board for tobacco

products will be liable to pay a fine amounting to Rs 500,000.

Bal Sagar Giri, chief of legal section at the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) informed that the bill is currently awaiting a discussion at the committee. The discussion is necessary to get positive assurances from the members before it gets a final seal.

Nepal had signed the Framework

Convention for Tobacco Control in 2003 and ratified it in November 2006. With the ratification of the Convention, it is mandatory for Nepal to restrict production and trade of tobacco products through domestic law.

The guidelines concerning protection of public health policies, protection from exposure to tobacco smoking, promotion and sponsoring, packaging and labelling of tobacco products and tobacco advertisement is getting final shape in WHO’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body meeting slated for March 2010 in Geneva, where WHO member countries, including Nepal are taking part.