Rajitha to ban sale of cigarettes within 500 m radius from schools
April 19, 2017 12:53 pm
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne stated that the claims made by the GMOA regarding a tobacco company locating a plant in Sri Lanka, is false.
He further added that there has been no government that had committed itself to abolish tobacco from the country, and had taken steps such as taxing 90% of the manufacturers income, and increasing pictorial warnings by 80%, compared to what it was.
Dr. Rajitha Senaratne added that laws will be brought to ban the sale of cigarettes within a 500 meter radius from schools.
He further added that attention will be drawn towards the plain cigarette packets sold within the country, and also stated that the revenue earned by the government through the sale of tobacco amounts to Rs. 100 billion.
Senaratne added that the an annual cost of more than Rs.72 billion is allocated by the government on treating individuals affected by smoking, while costing the lives of around 25000 people annually.
He added that the Sri Lankan tobacco cooperation stated that the increase in tax rates have caused the industry to only retain 1% of its profit, and stated that the industry is finding it difficult to maintain healthy profits.
At a time where the steps taken towards the prevention of smoking in Sri Lanka are being scrutinized by the World Health Organization itself, the President and I are tirelessly working towards the prevention of smoking, not for any personal monetary gain but for the health and wellbeing of the public, Minister of Health stated.
The Minister added that he was expecting backlash from tobacco and pharmaceutical companies after the reduction of the price of drugs and the increase of the tobacco tax.
He also expressed his suspicion that several members of the GMOA were being bribed by these tobacco and pharmaceutical companies to protest the price reduction of drugs and rise in the tobacco tax.
Whilst the Health Minister waged war with multinational pharmaceutical companies and tobacco corporations, the Secretary of the GMOA, Navinda Soysa stated that the Minister of Health should be given the Ministry of Wildlife instead.
Addressing this statement made on the 17, the Minister of Health commented that the GMOA Secretary’s behaviour made it clear that he would be better suited at a minor job in the Ministry of Wildlife than in the medical field.