Government should be responsible for public health: Gagan Thapa

Kathmandu, February 14

Former health minister Gagan Kumar Thapa today said that the government had failed to implement Tobacco Product (Control and Regulation) Act effectively.

Speaking at an interaction programme, Thapa said the government and its concerned agencies had failed to control smoking in public places and sale of tobacco products without obtaining licence. He further said promotion and advertisement of tobacco products had gone unchecked in recent years.

“Implementing the act has become a challenge as tobacco and alcohol products are major sources of income for the government. The government collects around Rs 16 billion in tax from the tobacco products,” he said, adding that the government should be more responsible for public health.

Thapa also stressed on behavioural and attitudinal changes in people who are addicted to tobacco products through religious preaching and sermons.

Spokesperson for World Hindu Federation Damodar Gautam said according to Vedas consuming alcoholic products and tobacco was a sin.

Health Education Administrator at National Health Education, Information and Communication Centre, Kunj Prasad Joshi said use of tobacco and consumption of alcohol had significantly increased the number of patients suffering from life threatening diseases. Tobacco products are products made entirely or partly of leaf tobacco as raw material, which are intended to be smoked, sucked, chewed or snuffed.

Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.

A number of countries have legislation restricting tobacco advertising, and regulating who can buy and use tobacco products, and where people can smoke.