Tobacco Industry Country Profile - Nepal

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Nepal is a land locked country between India and China. Nepal has an area of 147,181 km2.[1] Nepal has an approximate population of 26 million (12.8 Million males and 13.6 Million females) with a population growth rate of 1.35%.[1]

Image 1: Nepal (Source: Google Images)

Burden of tobacco use

According to the Steps Survey 2019, 28.9% people currently used tobacco (smokeless/smoked), while 17.1% smoked tobacco and 18.3% used smokeless tobacco. The prevalence among males was 48.3% and prevalence among females was 11.6%. Smokers use domestic products such as bidi, Tamakhu, Cigar, and Khainee apart from manufactured cigarettes. The survey reported average age of initiation of smoking as 17.8 years. According to the same survey 18.3% used smokeless tobacco and 1.6% currently used electronic cigarettes. The prevalence of current smokers was 18.5% and prevalence of current users of smokeless tobacco was 17.8% in 2013.[2][3] It seems the smokeless tobacco use has slightly increased and smoking may have declined modestly.

According to the Nepal government data reports, the number of deaths due to tobacco per year is 27,137.[4] Nepal government’s expenditure on patients with noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) is two billion rupees every year. The burden of NCDs has increased from 44% of total deaths in 1996, to 75% in 2019 according to the data obtained from the Government of Nepal.[5]

Tobacco Industry of Nepal

According to Department of Industry (DoI) of Nepal, there are 11 registered tobacco companies. Surya Nepal Private Limited (SNPL), a collaboration of ITC Limited India and British American Tobacco, covers more than 90% of the market with its commonly sold brands Surya, Shikhar, Khukuri, Pilot, Bujuli and Chautari.[6] SNPL has a distribution network spanned across the country reaching over 5,000 whole-sale sellers and over 100,000 retailers.[7]

Image 2: Registered tobacco companies in Nepal


A Study on the Economics of Tobacco in Nepal in 2003 reported that tobacco tax revenue has decreased to a 11% of total tax revenue and 9% of total government revenue.[8]

Tobacco Cultivation & Manufacturing

There were 2329 tons of tobacco produced in Nepal in 2014. However, tobacco growing is only a small fraction of agriculture in Nepal, with only 0.04% of agricultural land devoted to tobacco cultivation.[9] Tobacco cultivation is showing a decreasing trend in Nepal.[10] About 2,491 tons of tobacco leaves were produced in 2009–2010 on 2,534 hectares of land. Cigarette production was 9,970 million sticks in 2006–2007, 10,710 million sticks in 2007–2008 and 11,130 million sticks in 2008–2009.[11] Surya Nepal, the main tobacco manufacturer in the country, states in their website that they procure 100% of the tobacco cultivate in Nepal.[12]

Image 3: Tobacco production trends in Nepal. (Source: Fact[10]

Corporate Social Investments (CSI)

Surya Nepal Pvt. LTD has a CSI project named “Suswasthya”. As reported in their website it is a “platform for creating enduring value through community health”. The projects implemented on this platform include free health camps, donation of beds to patients of spinal injury, eye camps and dental camps and donations of ambulances. The project targets low income communities for their donations.[13] All sponsorships are banned according to the tobacco control legal framework in Nepal.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Central Bureau of Statistics Nepal National census of Manufacturing Establishment-2011/12, June 2014, accessed on February 2020
  2. Nepal Health Research Council. STEPS Survey 2019, 2019, accessed on February 2020
  3. Government of Nepal Ministry of Health and Population, Nepal Health Research Council, WHO Country Office for Nepal. Non Communicable Diseases Risk Factors: STEPS Survey Nepal 2013, 2014, accessed on 2020
  4. WHO Regional Office of South East Asia. Factsheet 2018 Nepal 2018, assessed on February 2020
  5. Bhisha Kafle. विशेष : दीर्घरोगी बन्दै नेपाली/bhisha Kafle, Nepal Magazine, June 2017, accessed on February 2020
  6. Surya Nepal Private Ltd. SNPL Company Profile, 2020, accessed February 2020
  7. Department of Industry. List of registered Industry when searched as “Tobacco” and “Surya Nepal” as of February 2020, 11 February 2020, accessed on February 2020
  8. YB Karki, KD Pant and BR Pande. Economics of Tobacco in Nepal 2003, WHO Tobacco Free Initiative, 10 October 2003, accessed on February 2020
  9. American Cancer Society Inc, Vital Strategies. Nepal Tobacco Atlas, 2018, accessed February 2020
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fact Fish. Nepal: Tobacco production quantity in tons, 2011-2018, accessed February 2020
  11. Government of Nepal Ministry of Health and Population Brief Profile on Tobacco Control in Nepal 2012, assessed on February 2020
  12. Surya Nepal. website, 2020, accessed February 2020
  13. SNPL SNPL Suswasthya 2020 assessed on February 2020