13 May 2011
Hom Lal Shrestha of the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association of Nepal said that if the law was enforced there would be a rapid reduction in the large number of people smoking in public places.
“There is still doubt about the law’s proper enforcement due to lack of political commitment and strategies being pursued by the tobacco lobby,” said Mr Shrestha.
He added that Nepal was threatened by the tobacco epidemic.
“There is a high smoking prevalence among adults (27.1 per cent), and the prevalence of smoking among women (22.6 per cent) is the highest reported in all South-East Asian countries,” he said.
“It is also estimated that over 50 per cent of youth in Nepal are exposed to second-hand smoke in their homes.”
According to Mr Shrestha, over 30,000 people die every year due to tobacco-related diseases like chronic bronchitis, heart diseases and cancer. Smoking contributes over 50 per cent of the causative factors related to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Nepal, he added.
Factors influencing the adoption of the TC law now include recent Supreme Court orders, a GlobaLink petition, and public interest litigation on tobacco in 2007, added Mr Shrestha.