Strong enforcement of anti-tobacco laws stressed

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KATHMANDU — Experts have underlined the need of vigorous implementation of awareness programmes about hazards of smoking and tobacco consumption for controlling consumption of tobacco in public places.

They expressed this view at an interaction programme organized by Cancer Council Nepal here on Tuesday.

Stakeholders from different walks of life expressed their views to control smoking in Nepal. Dr. Binod Man Shrestha, Chief Specialist of Health Ministry stressed that social organizations, civil society and different ministries of government should work jointly to control tobacco.

Dr. Shrestha, who was the chief guest at the programme, said that only enforcement of law and order isn’t sufficient and people should be made aware about preventive measures of different diseases. He said smoking has become a leading cause of Non-communicable Disease in the country, adding that priority should be given over how to control smoking in Nepal.

Dr. Shrestha appreciated Cancer Council Nepal for organizing such awareness programme. “It definitely contributes to create a healthy society. Unless people are well-informed about such things we cannot imagine about the development of the country. Most of the diseases are acquired by our own behaviors,” Dr. Shrestha said.

In the programme chaired by Rudra Lal Kadariya, President of Cancer Council Nepal, cancer specialist Prof. Dr. Bishnu Dutta Paudel claimed that smoking is the 80% cause of cancer, heart disease, and other non-communicable diseases.

He stated that due to lack of awareness and influence of friends, school age-children are hooked to smoking. He maintained that once they start smoking, it is very difficult for us to make them stop it. “If we can implement anti-tobacco law of 2011 properly, the percentage of smokers can be reduced significantly and it will reduce health care-cost of the country.”

Mr. Kishor Thapa, former secretary of Nepal government claimed that people from different sectors should take initiative for controlling consumption of tobacco. Giving the example of Bagmati Cleaning Campaign which was gaining success due to people initiative, he said he was ready to join helping hand in the anti-tobacco campaigned lunched by Cancer Council Nepal. Thapa appreciated Cancer Council Nepal for its anti-tobacco initiation.

On the occasion, Kadariya said that Cancer Council Nepal has been conducting such programmes in different places. He further stated that thousands of people are benefitted by such programmes. He also claimed that we can prevent people from the danger of smoking through mass awareness programme.

He urged the government to raise taxes on tobacco products and implement anti-tobacco act of 2011 properly. For it, there should be cooperation between different agencies of government, Kadariya stressed.