5th March, 2018
Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry said on Monday it would soon seek cabinet approval to raise the age limit of cigarette sale to adults from 18 to 21 years.
Health Minister 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 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 the sale of cigarettes would be banned within a distance of 100 metres around schools and this will be gazetted on April 7 to coincide with the World Health Day.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena recently blamed the use of tobacco and alcohol for the increasing poverty level and deterioration of health among poor people in the country.
Sirisena said more than 500 million rupees (about 3.2 million U.S. dollars) were 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 the government would aim to ban the cultivation of tobacco in the island by the year 2020.