Kathmandu- Recently the number of young age group and female smokers has been increasing in Nepal .

Speaking at a multi sectoral Workshop on Preventing Tobacco Epidemic in Responding to communicable and non communicable Diseases ‘Shared Responsibilities of National and Subnational Government’ organized by Action Nepal on Wednesday, Member Secretary and Executive Chief of the Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) Dr. Pradip Gyawali said that the number of young age group and female smokers has been increasing in Nepal recently.

‘Even though the number of smokers in Nepal has decreased by 2019, the number of women and young smokers has increased,’ he stated. Saying that smoking is also a major factor in increasing mortality, he added, ‘Another study conducted in 2019 showed that smoking increased the risk of death in 17.7 percent of the people.’

Studies conducted in Nepal from 2016 to 2018 show that smoking increases the risk of death in most people over the age of 20 due to COPD (severe asthma). Smoking, which is the leading cause of death from non-communicable diseases, is causing an average of 25,000 deaths annually in Nepal.

‘This is four times more than the number of deaths from Covid-19,’ said Ananda Bahadur Chand, chairman of the organization. ‘Since the onset of the Covid-19 infection, the death toll has risen to 11,500 (as of Tuesday evening), with 24,800 deaths annually due to tobacco use’, he said.

The Ministry of Health and Population has been conducting various programs in collaboration with various governmental and non-governmental organizations including Action Nepal, WHO, APCAT, The Union, making tobacco control and prevention the main strategy for its prevention.

The concept of various laws related to increases in taxes, smoking in public, sale of tobacco products and pictorial warning in the packets of tobacco products has also been introduced. However, due to lack of proper implementation and monitoring, the law made in this regard is still in limbo.