Nepal to have 90 percent warnings

| October 5, 2016

Nepal’s Health Minister, Gagan Thapa, has said that he will push for the imposition on tobacco products packaging of 90 percent pictorial health warnings, according to a story in The Himalayan Times.

“No one can stop us from implementing the provisions clearly articulated by the law,” he said while speaking at an Implementation of 90 percent pictorial health warning event organized by Action Nepal in Kathmandu. “We will do it.”

Although the government has amended its 2011 directive covering warnings on tobacco packages to increase the area covered by pictorial warnings from 75 percent to 90 percent, the amendment has not been ‘fully implemented’ by tobacco manufacturers.

Ananda Bahadur Chand, chairman of Action Nepal, called on the government and all stakeholders to enforce the law to reduce tobacco consumption and its burden on public health.

“Pictorial health warning[s] on packets of tobacco products have proven to be an effective tool for educating smokers and non-smokers alike about the health risks of tobacco use,” he said. “It not only prevents youth from starting to use tobacco but also encourages users to quit it.”

According to the findings of a study conducted in 2015, as many as 55 percent of current smokers reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked due to the introduction of pictorial warnings on tobacco packaging.

Participants in the study – Monitoring Effectiveness of PHW [pictorial health warnings] in Nepal: What We Have Found and What We Have Learned – were found to have reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked from 11 to five a day after tobacco products started carrying health warnings on packs.

“The findings give testimony to the need to enforce 90 percent coverage area of pictorial health warning on packets of tobacco products,” said Chand.

According to a government report, current smoking prevalence among men and women is 51.9 percent and 13.0 percent respectively.

More than 25,000 people in Nepal are said to die prematurely due to smoking-related diseases.

Health Secretary Senendra Raj Upreti said that the ministry would take the necessary initiatives to put the law into effect and was committed to force tobacco manufacturers to abide by the regulations.

Category: Breaking News

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