Published On: Wed, Mar 7th, 2018

SL to raise age for cigarette sales to 21

Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry said on 5 March that it would soon seek Cabinet approval to raise the age limit of the sale of cigarettes to adults from 18 to 21 years.

Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the proposals would soon be drafted, and following Cabinet approval, cigarette sales would be banned to anyone below the age of 21 years.

He said that steps were also being taken to ban the sale of cigarettes near schools across the island in order to discourage students from smoking.

He said that the sale of cigarettes would be banned within a distance of 100 metres around schools and this will be gazetted on 7 April to coincide with the World Health Day.

President Maithripala Sirisena recently blamed the use of tobacco and alcohol for the increasing poverty level and the deterioration of health among poor people in the country. Sirisena said more than Rs 500 million (about US$ 3.2 million) was being spent per day in Sri Lanka on tobacco and alcohol and the low-income groups were spending 35 percent of their earnings on tobacco and alcohol.
He further said that the Government would aim to ban the cultivation of tobacco in the island by the year 2020.

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