Permit must for tobacco item sale from March 14As Nepal witnesses an increased burden of non-communicable diseases, the government has ordered the management of separate stores to sell cigarettes and tobacco products from March 14.
As Nepal witnesses an increased burden of non-communicable diseases, the government has ordered the management of separate stores to sell cigarettes and tobacco products from March 14.
Besides, all the shops selling tobacco products should be registered with the Inland Revenue Department and get the licence, as in the case of alcohol products.
A Cabinet decision on Thursday made it mandatory for each store to take permission prior to selling tobacco products. However, these products cannot be sold from groceries or general stores, which sell daily essentials.
Outside each store, a billboard has to be put up with a message that tobacco products will not be sold to people below 18 and pregnant women.
Health Minister Gagan Thapa said the need to curb the sale of tobacco products was important given its massive consumption that comes with negative effects on health, putting strain on hospitals.
In Nepal, non-communicable diseases caused 51 percent of total deaths in 2010 and 60 percent in 2014, according to the Health Ministry. Surveys conducted by the ministry show that cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and oral diseases are the major NCDs, all of which directly or indirectly linked to the consumption of tobacco products. The government has been providing subsidies in treatment for patients of cancer and heart diseases, spending as high as Rs1 billion each year.
Questions, however, remain on the effective implementation of Thursday’s decision. In terms of tobacco control rules, Nepal has made some noticeable decisions including the graphic images printed on 90 percent of tobacco packages. All the international tobacco brands entering Nepal have already packaged their products as required while some Nepali products have also followed suit.
The ban on smoking in public places remains ineffective. “The Assistant CDO has been appointed the monitoring officer in each district to look into implementation of the measure,” said Minister Thapa.