Govt initiates ban on electronic cigarettes (vapes) in Nepal


Kathmandu: In a decisive move to safeguard public health, the Nepali government has commenced proceedings to outlaw electronic cigarettes, commonly known as vapes. The National Health Education, Information, and Communication Center (NHEICC), operating under the purview of the Department of Health Services, has embarked on a collaborative effort with various ministries to enforce the ban effectively.

Keshav Raj Pandit, Director of NHEICC, has appealed to key ministries, including the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies, alongside relevant departments such as Customs and Consumer Protection, to unite in executing regulations prohibiting the production, importation, sale, distribution, public consumption, and promotion of electronic cigarettes.

Citing regulatory provisions outlined in the Tobacco Products Control Regulation 2071 BS, Pandit underscored the comprehensive ban on electronic cigarettes, emphasizing stringent measures against their usage in public spaces and transportation, as well as advertising through media channels.

Dr. Bhakta Bahadur KC, a senior health education administrator at NHEICC, underscored the health hazards associated with vaping, dismissing claims of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids. He emphasized that electronic cigarettes not only foster nicotine addiction but also mirror smoking behaviors, potentially serving as a gateway to tobacco consumption. Dr. KC highlighted the adverse impacts of vaping on cardiovascular, neurological, and oral health, cautioning against its use due to risks posed to bystanders.

Nepal’s import data from the Department of Customs reveals a significant influx of electronic cigarette devices, with over 3.2 million imported in the last fiscal year, predominantly originating from China. Dr. KC expressed concern over the exponential rise in imports, citing a surge of 200 times over the past five years, contributing to an estimated annual trade volume of Rs 32 billion. He noted that vapes, with prices ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 13,000, come in various flavors, further complicating regulatory efforts.

As Nepal takes decisive steps to curtail the proliferation of electronic cigarettes, stakeholders are urged to prioritize public health concerns and collaborate in enforcing stringent measures against their usage and distribution.