Curb on tobacco sale, consumption fails

Gaighat, January 1

Though the government has imposed a ban on sale and consumption of tobacco and nicotine containing items at public places, its implementation hasn’t been so effective, thanks to government officials’ inability to take stringent action against law violators in Udayapur district.

As per the law, sale and consumption of tobacco and nicotine containing items including cigarette, tobacco and beetle nut, among others, are not permitted at public places.

However, the sale and consumption of these items have been unabated at public places. “The sale and consumption of tobacco and cigarettes has not gone down for want of effective implementation of the law,” said assistant health worker Chinkaji Rai at District Health Office, Udayapur.

As per the rule, a person has to take separate licence from Inland Revenue office to sell these items. But traders and shopkeepers in Triyuga area and its vicinity have been breaching the law.

“Many shopkeepers in the district do not have licence to sell such items yet they have been selling these products. Though small shops, hotels, betel shops and inns are openly selling tobacco and cigarettes, the authorities concerned have not taken any action against them,” said Sagar Nepal, a youth involved in controlling drug abuse.

Similarly, the government has also failed to implement the guideline for including pictorial elements and health warning messages in packaging and labelling of tobacco products enforced three years ago. Giving 90 per cent space to health warning messages on tobacco products through pictorial elements and texts on the bundles, packets, wrapping bands and parcels of tobacco products is mandatory in the guideline.

DHO Udayapur Statistics Officer Duniya Lal Yadav said due to lack of effective monitoring and supervision, many tobacco and cigarette factories are not abiding by the guideline.

The government has given the responsibility of monitoring to assistant chief district officer and district health officer. However, they have remained completely inactive in this regard.