Tobacco control strategy launched

Kathmandu, January 12

The Ministry of Health today launched the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Strategy-2030.

It  is believed that the strategy will provide guidelines to policy  makers, service providers, concerned ministries, and national and international non-governmental organisations for implementation of tobacco control programmes.

The strategy focuses on strengthening execution of  existing plans and policies, utilising tax to finance  development innovations, strictly enforcing legal provisions for tobacco control, creating supportive environment for tobacco-free  generation and preventing interference of tobacco industry in policy making.

Nepal had signed the FCTC on December 3,  2003 and ratified it on November 7, 2006. Based on the FCTC, the government has enacted the laws aiming to control tobacco consumption. The Tobacco Product  (Control and Regulatory) Act 2011 is the primary law governing tobacco  control in Nepal.

Minister for Health Deepak Bohara launched the  Strategy amidst a programme organised by the Information and Communications Centre here today. Addressing the programme, Minister Bohara expressed  confidence that the strategy would be a milestone in controlling use  tobacco products which are the main cause of several non-communicable  diseases.

Nearly one in two men consumes some form of tobacco  products and one in three men is a current smoker. Two out of five people  are exposed to second-hand smoke. Non-communicable disease risk factors survey in Nepal says 18.5 per cent adults over 15 years are current  smoker while 22 per cent males and 9.6 per cent female smoke daily.  Similarly, 17.8 per cent use smokeless tobacco in which 31 per cent are  male and 4.8 percent are female.

According to the Ministry of Health, 15,000 people die each year in Nepal due to the consumption of tobacco  products. Consumption of tobacco products causes cancer, long-term  respiratory diseases, heart disease and diabetes, among others.

Health Secretary Dr Pushpa Chaudhari stressed the  need of reducing tobacco consumption to prevent and minimise cases of non-communicable diseases. She also directed all the bodies  concerned to effectively implement the strategy.

Director General at the Department of Health  Services Dr Rajendra Panta said controlling use of tobacco products would help achieve the  Sustainable Development Goals.   The strategy incorporates various measures for  tobacco control like monitoring tobacco consumption, declaring more and  more smoke-free public areas and motivating the people to give up  tobacco.

Dr Chaudhary said the Ministry of Health received 25 per cent of taxes levied on tobacco products. Of this amount, 75 per cent revenue goes to hospitals and 15 per cent for health programmes and research, she added.