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Cabinet paper banning sale of “loose” cigarettes near schools

Cabinet papers had been presented in connection with banning the sale of single cigarettes and banning selling cigarettes within a radius of 500 metres from a school, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said.

Minister Dr. Senaratne had also stated that attention has been paid to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes which will allow the manufacturers to display their brand only. At the moment 80 percent of the cigarette packet is covered by the pictorial warning. The tax on tobacco had been increased up to 90 percent.

The Government receives an annual income of Rs. 100 Billion from the tobacco company but the Government is compelled to spend over Rs. 72 Billion annually to treat patients who fall sick due to smoking and related issues. annually 25,000 Sri Lankans die from health issues caused by smoking. The tobacco company says their profit has gone down to one percent with the new tax, the Minister stated. There is no truth whatsoever in the statement issued by the Government Medical Officers’ Association in connection with permitting a new tobacco company to commence operations in Sri Lanka. They kept mum when the previous regime reduced the pictorial warning on cigarette packets from 80 percent to 60 percent, he said.

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