Sri Lanka - huge drop in tobacco smoking..

July 31, 2009 - Sri Lanka banned smoking in public places with beginning Friday, December 1, 2006. Offenders would have to pay a 5000 rupee (43.53USD) fine under the Tobacco and Alcohol Act which was recently passed in the parliament. Selling tobacco products to anyone under 21 years of age will also be an offense. Hotels and restaurants also will have to allocate separate areas for smoking. According to the Act a hotel that have more than thirty rooms and cafes that have space for more than thirty persons can have such places. However there should be adequate ventilation. (The Tobacco and Alcohol Act effective next month, Official Government News Portal for Sri Lanka, 11/16/2006.

National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol...

Sri Lanka has seen a huge drop in tobacco smoking since the introduction in 2005 of a number of anti-tobacco policies, according to a story in the Daily News quoting the chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA), Prof. Carlo Fonseka.

Tobacco consumption, which in 1997 stood at 13 per cent, now stood at five per cent, Fonseka said, while tobacco consumption among school children had dropped from five per cent to 0.9 per cent.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Fonseka said, was the first national leader to include anti-alcohol, anti-tobacco and anti-drug policies as a high national priority. Tobacco, alcohol and drugs would be eradicated with stringent measures, he added.

At the same time, NATA co-ordinator, Dr. Prasanna Cooray, said the cultivation of tobacco in the north and east would be discouraged because it caused destruction of the soil and destruction of the farming community.

Instead, farmers would be encouraged to grow maize and other food crops.

Nevertheless, the Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC), a British American Tobacco (BAT) unit, contributed Rs25.5 billion towards the government’s revenue during the first half of this year, Rs1.7 billion, or 7.1 per cent, more than it contributed during the first half of 2008, according to a report in the Daily Mirror.

This was despite a reported decline in sales volume caused by higher, excise-led price increases and lower consumer affordability.

Sri Lanka was the first country in Asia to ratify WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control FCTC Treaty.

Reference: War on drugs, alcohol, Sri Lanka's Daily News, 7/30/2009.