Govt initiates ban on electronic cigarettes, collaborates with ministries for enforcement

KATHMANDU: The Nepalese government has taken proactive steps towards banning electronic cigarettes, commonly known as vapes, citing health risks associated with their usage. The National Health Education, Information and Communication Center (NHEICC) under the Department of Health Services has reached out to various ministries, soliciting their cooperation in enforcing the ban effectively.

Keshav Raj Pandit, Director of NHEICC, has urged ministries including Communication and Information Technology, Finance, Industry, Commerce and Supplies, as well as relevant departments such as Customs and Commerce, Supplies, and Consumer Protection, to join forces in implementing regulations prohibiting electronic cigarette usage.

Highlighting the legal framework supporting the ban, Pandit referenced Subsection 4 of Section 28 of the Tobacco Products Control Regulation 2071 BS, which explicitly prohibits the production, import, sale, distribution, consumption in public places and transport, as well as promotion and advertisement of electronic cigarettes through various media channels.

Dr. Bhakta Bahadur KC, Senior Health Education Administrator at NHEICC, emphasized that with directives from the Ministry of Finance and Communications, the ban on electronic cigarettes will be enforced nationwide. Addressing misconceptions about e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids, Dr. KC reiterated the health risks they pose, likening them to conventional tobacco products and emphasizing their potential as a gateway to nicotine addiction.

“Using electronic cigarettes can lead to nicotine addiction, essentially mimicking smoking habits,” Dr. KC warned. “Therefore, electronic cigarettes serve as a gateway to tobacco use.” Beyond individual health risks, vaping also impacts cardiovascular, neurological, and oral health, posing dangers to bystanders as well.

Electronic cigarettes, available in various flavors, have seen a surge in imports to Nepal. According to data from the Department of Customs, Nepal imported 3,223,687 electronic cigarette devices in the last fiscal year, primarily from China, followed by the United States and the United Arab Emirates. Imports also originate from India, the UK, and other countries.

Dr. KC further highlighted the substantial increase in electronic appliance trade in Nepal, estimating an annual trade volume of around Rs 32 billion. Over the past five years, imports have surged dramatically, with the cost of a vape ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 13,000, making it accessible to a wide range of consumers.

Fiscal Nepal |
Wednesday May 8, 2024, 10:28:30 AM |

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