KATHMANDU:As many as 15,000 people are estimated to die due to tobacco consumption in Nepal every year, according to a report issued here by Nepal Cancer Relief Society (NCRS) on Wednesday.
Due to the delay in the ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the promotion of tobacco products has been going unabated.
“Earlier, the ratification was delayed citing the lack of authentic legal body in the country. No efforts have been made on that front even after the formation of a new government and the revival of the House of Representatives,” president of the NCRS Diwakar Raj Karnikar said in the report.
He also accused the government of delaying the ratification of the convention owing to pressure from big cigarette factories.
“The government should not make compromise on the matter as it concerns public health,” he said.
Two Nepali officials of the Health Ministry participated in the first Conference of Parties (COP) for the effective implementation of Tobacco Control Treaty in Geneva on February 2006.
The COP is the governing body of the treaty.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), concrete measures included in the treaty could help save 200 million lives worldwide by the year 2050, if a progressive 50 percent reduction in uptake and consumption rates is achieved.
Many measures in the WHO and FCTC have deadlines and clear guidelines. With the treaty’s entry into force, countries have three years to enforce health warnings on tobacco products, and five years to implement comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
The NCRS will submit a memorandum to the government Wednesday, demanding that it ratify the FCTC at the earliest.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) has agreed to provide space for putting hoardings against smoking and tobacco consumption in 10 major places of the valley.
The Ministry of Health and Population, WHO, NCRS and the National Pressure Group against Tobacco are organizing a rally on Wednesday to mark the World No Tobacco Day.
According to the WHO, 85 percent of liver cancer is caused by smoking. Globally, 5 million people die of smoking every year.