Sri Lanka - Industry gimmick to entice youth to smoking..

August 1, 2009 - Tobacco industry has resorted to distributing free cigarettes in order to promote the habit of smoking among youth. The Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco & Alcohol (NATA) Professor Carlo Fonseka in a letter to Daily News refers to an incident which took place in front of a restaurant in Colombo as an example, which was personally witnessed by NATA officials, and describes it as a fragrant violations of the NATA Act.

According to Professor Fonseka around 8.00 pm on July 28, NATA officials after being alerted had visited and witnessed the free distribution of cigarettes by a group of about 10, including young women in front of a restaurant in Fife road, Colombo 5.
The activity had been carried out to the accompaniment of loud music calculated to draw maximum attention.

However, according to the Professor, two traffic Policemen after hearing the loud noise had visited the scene and had informed the concerned people that it was an offense to play loud music without informing the Police, at which point the group had stopped the activity and disbursed from the scene.

The NATA officials at the scene however had followed one vehicle and after reaching its final destination, had spoken to the three occupants politely, and had informed them that what they did was illegal. Their reply had been that they were simply doing a job for which they were paid.

The officials then had lodged a formal complaint with the Narahenpita Police as the said restaurant was located in the aforesaid Police division.

Prof. Fonseka points out that this incident was a clear violation of the Act No.27 of 2006 and that relevant officials should take prompt action to bring the violators to book and take steps to prevent a recurrence of such incidents in the future.

In Sri Lanka 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.

Reference: Industry gimmick to entice youth to smoking Daily News (Sri Lanka's National newspaper since 1918), 7/31/2009.

Sri Lanka - related news brief: Sri Lanka - huge drop in tobacco smoking..

Click on image to enlarge; Flower - Children of Sri Lanka Trust - was set up for the relief of poverty, sickness, hardship and distress among children in Sri Lanka.