Nepal - bill to implement tobacco control measures being debated in parliament..

Coat of Arms..

June 1, 2010 - Royal Kingdom of Nepal is to ban smoking in all enclosed public places including government offices, schools, hospitals and restaurants and outlaw all tobacco advertising to try to deter young people from taking up the habit, the government said Tuesday, June 1st.

A new anti-smoking bill will also make it illegal for anyone under 16 to smoke, and introduce compulsory health warnings on cigarette packets, health ministry official Bal Sagar Giri told AFP.

"More and more young people are being lured by attractive tobacco advertising. That has to end," he said. "It is high time we had a strict enforcement of law that regulates tobacco use and punishes offenders."

Giri said the bill, currently being debated in parliament, would also introduce fines of 5,000 rupees (70 dollars) for individual offenders and 100,000 rupees for tobacco companies.

The government estimates that 15,000 people die every year of smoking-related diseases in Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries.

Globally, tobacco kills five million people annually, according to the World Health Organization, with deaths expected to hit 10 million a year in two decades, 70 percent of those being in developing nations.

In 2006, Nepal's Supreme Court (SC) ordered the government to ban smoking in public places and outlaw tobacco advertisements in broadcast media, but the ruling has never been implemented.

Thursday, June 29, 2006
SC's no smoking zones

The Supreme Court Wednesday defined nine places as no smoking zones however, fifteen days had past since it ordered the government to prohibit smoking in public places.

According to the full text of the verdict on tobacco consumption at public places, the no smoking zones are offices that provide public service, educational institutions, public vehicles, bus parks, ticket counters, public entertainment places and places/ buildings of public gathering.

Besides, the court has given one year deadline for the government to ban smoking in public places and enforce anti-tobacco laws. Justices Anup Raj Sharma and Rajendra Prasad Koirala prepared the verdict. As per the verdict, the government is also required to prohibit publication of advertisements of tobacco in print media as soon as possible. (Legal News from Nepal, June 2006)
Nepal - big cigarette companies - Surya Nepal, a subsidiary of India’s ITC and British American Tobacco, and Seti Cigarette Factory, a subsidiary of Philip Morris—have greatly increased their spending in all national newspapers and weekly, fortnightly and monthly magazines. Also, they sponsor many sport and entertainment programmes in Nepal.

Nepal has signed (3 December 2003) and ratified (7 November 2006) the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.

Reference: Nepal to ban smoking in public places, Agence France-Presse (AFP), 6/1/2010.