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Indra Dhoj Kshetri

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Smokers, Beware! Nepal is legislating anti tobacco laws

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After the legislation comes into effect, it will be pretty difficult for the smokers openly exhaling smokes in public places.

This shall be an embarrassing news for the smokers and tobacco users in the country. However, Nepal has moved towards legislating anti tobacco laws that will ultimately affect the production, sale and consumption of tobacco. Besides, it will be pretty difficult for the smokers to continue their habit as they have been doing. The House of Representatives has recently ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This ratification entails certain obligations to Nepal government to make certain laws and formulate policies and plans to regulate and control the consumption of tobacco.

Among them, Nepal will have to make laws that will completely prohibit the advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products. Those products will have to print a message regarding the prospective harms of consuming those products on at least 30% portion of the packet. To control smuggling, tobacco producers will have to print the name of the country where the product will be sold.

Unlike delays on legislating other laws to comply with the conventions or treaties ratified, Nepal has moved fast towards legislating anti tobacco laws. The immense pressure from the civil society seems to have pressurized Nepal government to legislate such laws. A draft bill on regulation and control of tobacco goods has been prepared. And the civil society is concerned to make it passed by sitting House of Representatives.

This draft prohibits smoking in public vehicles, health organizations, child welfare and child care institutions and educational institutions. It also mentions that there should be a fixed smoking zone in the places like office, cinema halls, theatres, temples and inns, game zones, hotel, resort, restaurant, marketplace, fairs, departmental stores, public toilets etc. That is to say certain well ventilated places within the four walls will be separated as a smoking zone whereas; all other places shall remain non-smoking zones. The draft prohibits involving children below sixteen on sale, distribution and purchase of tobacco goods.

If the draft is legislated by the sitting house, the situation will be somehow different, peculiar to the smokers. Nepal government will also rethink the taxes on tobacco products which will evidently increase the cost of tobacco goods that has already been towering in the last few years. Besides, since they can’t advertise and promote their products and sponsor any events, new producers will find it very difficult to enter the market. Anybody will raise questions on anybody exhaling smokes openly in the public places. And, there are some prospects that the children will find it difficult to purchase the tobacco goods that will oblige them to give up smoking.

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After the bill is drafted, debates have been ignited. The industrialists have been claiming that if the law is legislated, it will curb the revenue the nation is gets from tobacco producers and consumers that will ultimately affect the national development. Another tobacco monger claims smokers’ rights and others. However, none of these claims are logical. The nation has to spend more on treatment of the tobacco consumers than it gets in revenue from producers and consumers of tobacco goods. So far as smokers’ right concerns, it is a fake claim. Generally, a smoker takes 10-12 minutes to finish a stick of cigarette. He inhales the cigarette smoke only twice in a minute. Rest of the time, the smoke freely whirls in the air, affecting the people sitting close to him. Those people not smoking but sitting beside are called passive smokers. Experts claim that passive smokers are as equally affected as the active smoker. Hence, the smokers have been threatening the right to life of a passive smoker. Let’s not be so much rigid towards smokers as well. The smokers may exercise their rights in a separate zone, without interfering others.

Are there prospects that our bloggers, commentators and visitors gave up smoking? Those are congratulated who gave up smoking as New Year resolution. Those who didn’t will resolve in Nepali New Year. Let’s consider following devastating effects of tobacco consumption provided by World Health Organization (WHO).

Five million people die of tobacco consumption every year in the world. That is 13,300 people die every day. To break it to smaller measurement, a person dies every 6.5 seconds because of tobacco consumption.

Tobacco consumption is the cause of 85% lungs cancers.

If the number goes increasing in the existing proportion, ten million people will die of tobacco consumption by 2020 every year. And 70% of such deaths will be in developing countries like Nepal.

Tobacco contains nearly 4000 chemicals of which none are found beneficial for the health.

Each stick of cigar reduces 14 minutes of life from one’s life span.

Nearly 16 thousand people die of tobacco consumption in Nepal.

55% of total population consumes tobacco goods and 48.4 % of total smokers are below 15 years of age.

Isn’t it devastating? And disgusting for the smokers?
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Awareness: This sign board caught up by Everest Uncensored Team during hiking recent days appeals people to give up smoking and drinking.