1,000 nabbed in 3 days for smoking in public

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Feb 28, 2016-

The Metropolitan Police Range has booked over 1,000 people for smoking in public in three days. The arrestees, who were held from various places in Kathmandu, were released after paying Rs100 fine each.

Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu said the arrests were made as part of a campaign against smoking in public places that was launched on Tuesday.

“We started a similar campaign two years ago but couldn’t continue it due to technical reasons and non-cooperation from other stakeholders. We’ll give it continuity this time as all are willing to cooperate to prevent smoking in public places,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Bikram Singh Thapa.

Smoking at offices, schools, libraries, airports, public lavatories, cinema halls, hotels, restaurants, buses and even stadiums is common across Nepal including in Kathmandu Valley. 

According to the World Health Organization, 16,000 people die annually from causes related to the consumption of tobacco and about 90 percent of those deaths are due to long cancer caused by smoking.

Though the government introduced new laws to control public smoking in 2010 under the Tobacco Product (Control and Regulatory) Act, poor implementation and lack of coordination among the authorities concerned has made the restriction ineffective.

“School students easily fall into the smoking habit. This is the first step for them to get into drug addiction,” said SSP Thapa.

The campaign is a combined effort of the Ministry of Health And Population, local administration and the police. Earlier, police said they conducted awareness programmes in 50 educational centres and public places in the Valley.

Pushparaj Gautam, 29, who paid Rs100 fine for smoking in public on Saturday, took this campaign as a welcome move as this could change his habit. “I’m not a regular smoker. Before enforcing the law, the government must designate smoking zones,” he said.

Published: 28-02-2016 08:48

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