Kathmandu- It has been found that Nepalis consume tobacco products worth more than 1 trillion 9 billion rupees on an annual average. A study conducted by the Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) regarding the main causes of non-communicable diseases has shown that Nepalese spend an average of 1 trillion 9 billion 24 million rupees on tobacco consumption annually.
According to the study, it seems that a Nepalese person who consumes tobacco products spends 1000 rupees in a month. That expenditure is up to 13% of Nepali’s income. Spending 1,000 rupees on tobacco products in a month is found to cost 12,600 rupees in a year.
The study of the council showed that 28.9% of the total population in Nepal consumes tobacco products, which calculates 86 lakh 70 thousand to Nepal’s total population of nearly 30 million. 8,670,000 consume tobacco products at the rate of 12,600 per year and waste more than 1 trillion in smoke every year. What is even sadder is that the Nepalese who spend billions of rupees on tobacco use spend billions of rupees on the health problems caused by the same tobacco.
According to the study, more than 40 billion rupees are spent annually on the treatment of two diseases, cancer and heart disease, among the diseases caused by the consumption of tobacco products. If we look at other diseases that have not been studied, health economist Prof. Dr. Devi Prasai says. “We have only studied the cost of two major non-communicable diseases. It has been seen that only those two diseases cost more than 40 billion annually,” he says, “There are many other non-communicable diseases such as asthma and kidney. An official study of the expenses incurred on them has not been done.
The government has been collecting 33% tax on all materials, 13% revenue, 18% excise duty and 2% risk. The government has been collecting revenue equal to 36 billion rupees annually from tobacco products through all taxes. “This tax is much lower than the harm from tobacco products”, Dr. Prasai says. According to Meghnath Dhimal, Head of the research department of the council, until a few years ago the number of smokers was high, but now it is decreasing. “The consumption of gutkha and tobacco products has increased due to smoke products,” said Dr. Dhimal says, ‘It seems even more dangerous for health.’
What is even more astonishing is that Nepali people consume tobacco products at a young age. The age at which Nepalis start consuming tobacco products is 17.8 years, which is the college age. The Director of the Shaheed Gangalal National Heart Disease Center, Dr. Chandramani Adhikari says that the number of people coming to the hospital for treatment due to cardiac diseases such as heart attacks due to smoking at a young age is increasing day by day. ‘A few days ago, a 29-year-old youth was treated for a heart attack and could not be sent home. Another young man came to the Shaheed Gangalal National Heart Disease Center due to a heart attack. He was only 22 years old. Those who used to smoke cigarettes regularly for a few years,’ he says, ‘Let’s protect the youth from the problem of heart attack, which is more common among the youth.’
According to him, 11% of the patients below 40 years of age were in the heart attack study conducted by the center a few years ago. He says that smoking is the culprit in all of them. Although the number of people who consume tobacco products is less in the research, the number of people who consume tobacco products at a young age is increasing. “Which is fatal for tomorrow, increasing the risk of serious diseases that cannot be transmitted at a young age,” Dr. Dhimal adds.
Spine surgeon Prof. Dr. Gaurav Dhakal, who is also the vice president of the council, says that tobacco products make brittle bones useless and cause joint problems. “If those who consume tobacco products have undergone surgery, it will take a long time to recover through treatment and it will not be successful,” Dr. Dhakal says, “It destroys the brittle bones. There is a higher possibility of infection in the place where the surgery was performed. In Nepal, 20 out of 100 people have back pain, 80 percent of people have back pain at some point. He says that people who use tobacco products have two times more serious spine problems than people who do not use tobacco products.