KHATMANDU: As the government has been implementing the 90 per cent coverage area of pictorial health warning (PHW) on packets of tobacco products and has also banned sales and consumption of tobacco products in public places, these provisions seem to have brought down the consumption rate of tobacco products of late. As per statistics of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), import of tobacco products has come down by 30.8 per cent in the first four months of fiscal year 2017-18 compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year. NRB data shows that Nepal imported Rs 571 million worth of tobacco products in the first four months of fiscal 2017-18 against import of Rs 824 million worth of tobacco products in the same period of fiscal 2016-17.
While different programmes of the government to discourage consumption of tobacco products seem to have had an effect, the public has also started becoming aware about the hazards of tobacco consumption,” said Shree Krishna Giri, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health (MoH). Besides the PHW provision, MoH has also banned the sale of tobacco products in retail without government licence from March last year in a bid to regulate the sale of tobacco products and discourage consumption. Moreover, the government has also banned licence holders of tobacco products from selling other retail products.
As per Giri, the strategy incorporates various measures for reducing tobacco consumption like monitoring tobacco consumption in public places, declaring more smoke-free public areas and motivating the people to give up tobacco, among others.