Illegal sale of tobacco products continues unabated

Kathmandu, August 10

No trader is allowed to sell tobacco products without obtaining licence from the government and those who acquire such licence are barred from selling other products.

However, more than seven months after the Tobacco Product (Control and Regulatory) Act came into effect, neither has the government conducted any inspection nor have the tobacco traders registered themselves with the authorities. The government had asked tobacco traders to obtain licence by mid-March.

Kanchhi Maya (name changed), a tobacco vendor, said she was unaware of the law. “No one has come for inspection and i’m running my business as usual,” she said.

Badri Khadka, director, National Health Education Information Communication Centre, said the Ministry of Health was is responsible only for taking policy-level decisions. “The district public health office is responsible for carrying out inspections. However, we haven’t received any report about the condition of market and illegal sale of tobacco products.”

District Health Inspector Dhruba Adhikari said they were also providing information through media and taking action against vendors who were involved in selling tobacco products without obtaining licence. “We remove them, but they reappear the very next day.”

Kamal Prasad Dahal, director general, Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumers Interest said that the department had not any complaint from consumers so far. Tobacco products include cigarette, quid of tobacco, tobacco leaves, cigar, chewing tobacco and gutka, among other things. The Tobacco Product (Control and Regulatory) Act was passed by the Cabinet on January 19.