MoFAGA issues circular to local levels to enforce anti-tobacco law

Urgent action to reduce mortality rate caused by use of tobacco products stressed 

Kathmandu, March 7

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has directed all local levels to display notice prohibiting smoking and tobacco consumption in public places.

In response to a letter from Health Tax Fund under Ministry of Health and Population, MoFAGA yesterday issued a circular to local levels to implement the provisions stipulated in Section 4 of Tobacco Product (Control and Regulatory) Act-2011.

HTF wrote to the MoFAGA to implement the legal provisions after it received complaints about inaction of the local governments towards imposing ban on smoking and tobacco consumption in public places.

The anti-tobacco law has categorised government offices, corporations, educational institutions, parks, libraries, airports, public vehicles, orphanages, childcare centres, cinema halls, homes for elderly, children’s parks, hotels, restaurants, resorts, girls and boys’ hostels, department stores, religious sites and industries as public places, where smoking and chewing tobacco is not allowed.

The law also prohibits sale and distribution of tobacco-related products in these areas.

Despite the legal provision in place, ban on smoking in public places and advertisement of tobacco products in the form of wall painting and posters remain ineffective. Earlier, authorities concerned in association with police had started crackdown on public smokers in Kathmandu valley and other districts, but the move fizzled out.

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. Earlier, MoFAGA had directed local levels to strictly enforce the law with regard to smoking and advertisement of tobacco products in public places. The MoFAGA has also urged local levels to punish the rule violators.

A decision taken by the Council of Ministers on 24 January 2018 had designated assistant chief district officers and chief administrative officers of local levels as inspectors to inspect whether or not anyone violated the legal provisions by consuming tobacco or smoking in public places.

The concerned chief district officer is the authority to adjudicate cases filed by the inspectors against anyone, who commits an offence, under the act.

“It is urgent for the country to reduce mortality rate caused by use of tobacco products to realise its vision of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ through enforcement of existing legal provisions,” reads the circular.