Anti-tobacco bill gathers dust for one year

Kathmandu, March 23:

Though the anti-tobacco bill was proposed more than a year ago, the bill is yet to be endorsed by the government.

Babu Kaji Baniya, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Health Population, said the bill was not in government’s priority albeit the bill was significant, keeping in view with its importance on public health.

“We are trying our best to ensure that the bill gets endorsed at the earliest,” added Baniya. He added that since tobacco was an important source of revenue generation, the government was reluctant to endorse the bill.

Nepal had signed the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control in 2003.

Once the bill is passed, consumption of tobacco in public places would be banned, he said. He informed that a fine of Rs 100 to Rs 500,000 could be slapped on persons smoking in the public. The bill proposes a restriction of children in dealing with sale and distribution of tobacco. It also makes it mandatory to seek permission letters for tobacco sales and ban on retail sale and advertisement.

According to National Demographic and Health Survey, 2006, 25.6 per cent women and 62.5 per cent men between 15 and 49 were habituated to smoking.