Warnings not implemented

| April 25, 2018

More than two years after the government in Nepal decided that tobacco-package health warnings should be increased in size, the requirement has not been implemented effectively, according to a story in The Himalayan Times.

In part, at least, this has to do with the fact that the requirement is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

A 2011 law requiring that health warnings covered 75 percent of tobacco packaging was amended 25 months ago to lift the coverage to 90 percent.

Dr. Tara Singh Bam, the deputy regional director at the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, said that, as per the law, pictorial warnings should be included on the front, back, top, and both sides of every tobacco package. There were five pictures and corresponding text warnings that should be rotated every six months, he said.

Bam added that some tobacco companies were not abiding by the requirements of the law, and he urged the government to take action against those companies.

Dr. Pushpa Chaudhary, secretary at the Ministry of Health, said the responsibility of the Ministry was to draft the bill; it did not have the right to take action against companies not abiding by the law.

But Narayan Prasad Bhandari, director at the Inland Revenue Department, said the Department had already warned the companies of stringent action if they failed to abide by the law.

However, a complicating factor is that a tobacco company is challenging the government’s new law in the Supreme Court, and whereas the hearing had been scheduled for April 18, it has been delayed.

“The Supreme Court has issued a stay order in the case, so we haven’t taken any action against the companies,” said Bhandari. “The issue of revenue collection was also one of the reasons for not taking action against them.”

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Category: Breaking News, Packaging, Regulation

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