Nepal Set to Ban E-Cigarettes Amid Surge in Tobacco Use

Nepal ban e-cigarettes tobacco use

In a bid to curb the rising trend of e-cigarette use among young people, Nepal is on the verge of implementing a ban on these devices, as reported by MyRepublica. Bhakta Bahadur KC, an information officer at the National Health Education, Information and Communication Center, stated that the move comes in response to the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes among the youth.

E-Cigarette Imports and Business Value

Nepal imported a staggering 3.2 million e-cigarettes in 2023, with the business valued at an estimated NPR210 million ($1.5 billion). Despite studies suggesting that vaping is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking, KC maintained that e-cigarettes are as detrimental to health as traditional cigarettes.

Tobacco Use on the Rise in Nepal

A recent survey conducted by the Nepal Development Research Institute (NDRI) revealed that 34.1 percent of the Nepalese population uses tobacco in various forms, marking a significant increase from 31.8 percent in 2020. The survey found that tobacco use is prevalent across different age groups:

  • 15 to 24 years: 18 percent (8.9 percent smoking, 6.3 percent smokeless tobacco, 2.7 percent both)
  • 25 to 39 years: 26.5 percent (8.7 percent smoking, 13 percent smokeless tobacco, 4.9 percent both)
  • 40 to 54 years: 41.6 percent (11.1 percent smoking, 26.7 percent smokeless tobacco, 3.7 percent both)
  • 55 to 69 years: 56.7 percent (16 percent smoking, 33.8 percent smokeless tobacco, 6.8 percent both)

The survey also highlighted a significant gender disparity in tobacco use, with 55.8 percent of men and 11.2 percent of women consuming tobacco products.

Factors Contributing to the Rise in Tobacco Use

NDRI researcher Kamal Chaulagain attributed the increase in tobacco consumption to the growing popularity of hookah and e-cigarettes, which some users perceive as safer alternatives to smoking. He emphasized the need for higher taxes on these products to discourage their use.

Jaya Kumar Gurung, head of NDRI, pointed to the lax enforcement of the Anti-Smoking Act and the lack of public awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco products as contributing factors to the rising trend.

As Nepal prepares to ban e-cigarettes, it is crucial to address the broader issue of tobacco use through effective legislation, stricter enforcement, and comprehensive public awareness campaigns. By taking a multi-faceted approach, the country can work towards reducing the prevalence of tobacco use and safeguarding the health of its population.

News source: MyRepublica

Sophia Bennett