The Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu has stepped up action against anyone caught puffing on cigarettes in public places.
According to the MPR, it detained more than 600 persons for smoking in public places in the past three days and imposed a fine of Rs 100 each on many of them.
SSP Bikram Singh Thapa, MPR in-charge, warned that the law enforcement agency would not be a mute spectator to open violation of the existing laws.
The MPR has deployed plainclothes cops led by inspector of all 14 metropolitan police circle to cover busy public places and catch law-breakers. The action is aimed at sending a message that smoking in public places is illegal.
The Tobacco Product (Control and Regulatory) Act-2011 bars smoking in public places Some four years ago police had started crackdown on public smokers, but the move fizzled out. Police had briefly detained more than 2,000 persons in Kathmandu in June-July of 2012 for smoking in public places. They were freed after drawing their attention to the law.
Police have maintained records of offenders. They said if any person is caught smoking in public places again, he/she will be punished with a fine of Rs 1,000 in the second instance.
The anti-smoking law has categorised government offices, corporations, educational institutions, parks, libraries, airports, public vehicles, orphanages, childcare centres, cinema halls, homes for the elderly, cultural centres, children’s gardens, hotels, restaurants, resorts, girls and boys’ hostels, department stores, religious sites and industries as public places where smoking is not allowed. The law also prohibits sale and distribution of tobacco-related products in these areas.
According to the law, which took effect in August 2011, any individual or firm breaching the law is liable to a fine of Rs 100 to Rs 100,000 depending on the nature of violation.
According to government statistics, every year 16,000 people die because of tobacco consumption in Nepal. Ninety per cent of them die from lung cancer. As many as 52 per cent males and 13.3 per cent females (15-49) use tobacco-related products in Nepal.