Kathmandu, January 25
Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has directed all the local levels to strictly enforce the provisions of Tobacco Product (Control and Regulatory) Act-2011, with regard to smoking in public places and advertisement of tobacco products in various forms.
A decision of the Council of Ministers on 24 January 2018, had designated the assistant chief district officers and chief administrative officers of local levels as inspectors to inspect whether or not anyone was violating the provisions of this law and consuming tobacco or smoking in public places. The concerned chief district officer is the authority to hear and decide the cases filed by inspectors under the act.
An official at Planning and Monitoring Section of the MoFAGA said a circular was issued to the local levels to carry out the responsibilities assigned to the chief administrative officers in coordination with the concerned assistant CDOs. Secretariat of the Health Tax Fund, under the Ministry of Health and Population, had written to MoFAGA to facilitate efforts to enforce the anti-tobacco provisions last week.
Despite legal provisions in place, the ban on smoking in public places and advertisement of tobacco products in the form of wall painting and posters remains ineffective.
The act also bars smoking in public places.
Earlier, the authorities in association with police had started cracking down on those smoking in public places in Kathmandu valley and other districts, but the move fizzled out.
The anti-tobacco law has categorised government offices, corporations, educational institutions, parks, libraries, airports, public vehicles, orphanages, childcare centres, cinema halls, homes for the elderly, cultural centres, children’s gardens, hotels, restaurants, resorts, girls and boys’ hostels, department stores, religious sites and industries as public places, where smoking was not allowed.
The law also prohibits sale and distribution of tobacco-related products in these areas.
The law requires the authorities to fix a visible or readable notice in various places indicating that smoking and tobacco consumption are strictly prohibited. According to the law, any person or firm breaching the law shall be liable to a fine ranging between Rs 100 and Rs 100,000, depending on the nature of violation.
A version of this article appears in print on January 26, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.