Call to take on tobacco culture

Kathmandu, May 31:

Speakers at a programme organised today called on all people to work together to bring down deaths caused due to tobacco consumption.

They were speaking at a programme organised by the Nepal Cancer Relief Society (NCRS) to mark World No Tobacco Day. Nepal, a signatory to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, has a target to create a tobacco-free society by 2020.

“It is encouraging to see Nepalis actively participating in awareness programmes to achieve the target,” said Dr Alexander Andjaparidze, World Health Organisation

representative to Nepal. “We should work unitedly to win the battle against tobacco for the sake of our children and grandchildren.”

According to the WHO, 3 million people died from tobacco consumption in 1990, 4.02 million in 1998 and 5 million in 2003. It is estimated that 8.4 million will die in 2020 and 10 million in 2030 due to tobacco consumption. Tobacco consumption will fall by 16 per cent if tobacco-related advertisements are banned, WHO adds.

NCRS president Diwakar Rajkarnikar urged the authorities concerned and civil society to extend help in the battle against tobacco. Dr Dirgha Singh Bam, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population, said tobacco consumption is a medical as well as social problem.

In every seven seconds, one person dies from smoking in the world and 15,000 people die every year due to the consumption of tobacco in Nepal, according to the WHO. At least 49 per cent male and 29 per cent women in Nepal have a habit of smoking. President of the Nepal Artists’ Association Ramesh Budhathoki said he will ask film producers and directors to help achieve the target of creating a tobacco-free society by 2020.