Mon, 08 Mar 2021 Today's Paper

SLMA denounces moves to import foreign cigarettes

28 June 2019 04:37 am - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

Campaigners against tobacco use allege that measures to licence the import of foreign cigarettes were expedited during the same week declared as the National Drug Prevention week.

The Sri Lanka Medical Association's (SLMA) Expert Committee on Tobacco Control yesterday condemned moves by the Finance Ministry to licence the import of foreign cigarettes to Sri Lanka, criticising the government's duplicity in controlling tobacco use.

At a joint media briefing with the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC), a collective of campaigners denounced the government's actions, stating that granting such a license would be detrimental to public health.

Consultant to the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol, Dr. Sajeeva Ranaweera said that the SLMA strongly opposes the move.

"Measures are underway to grant licences to import cigarettes from China. The Finance Ministry states that this is an attempt to curb the illicit cigarette trade, catering to the small population of an estimated 6,000 Chinese workers in the country" he said, adding that public health would be in grave danger if such a license is granted.

ADIC Executive Director Pubudu Sumanasekara said that while two applications have been filed seeking licenses to import foreign cigarettes, the Finance Ministry has already issued a letter to the Excise Department requesting the necessary permits for one applicant.

"We believe the process has now been expedited within a matter of weeks. Not only do we have an issue with the procedure that has been followed when making this decision, but also the contradictory statements of the government," he said.

Sumanasekara added that Chinese workers were made scapegoats to justify the process. The professionals warned that granting such a license would set a dangerous precedent, in terms of entertaining requests of expatriate communities.

They charged that licensing foreign cigarette imports would only increase the burden for the government.

"The World Health Organization and the United Nations Development Programme in 2017 calculated the direct and indirect cost of alcohol and tobacco for Sri Lanka which amounted to a staggering Rs. 200 billion. Meanwhile, data also show that tobacco consumption causes some 20,000 deaths each year," he said, questioning the rationale of importing foreign cigarettes.

Meanwhile, Senior Lecturer of the Rajarata University, Dr. Manoj Fernando criticised the government's actions, stating that this would reverse years of progress made through drug prevention campaigns.

"I believe the permission to import cigarettes was obtained through the last budget by the Finance Ministry. Not even the President has been able to remedy this situation. The President has clearly expressed his opposition to this move," he said, adding that this attempt threatens to reduce and reverse historic achievements made in the prevention of tobacco consumption. (Kalani Kumarasinghe)

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

  Comments - 4

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 
  • Dee Friday, 28 June 2019 05:49 AM

    What is the GMOA stand is what matters!

    LP Friday, 28 June 2019 07:44 AM

    Good move by very creative designer.We need more people like you to end Sri Lnaka's proud history.

    Ravi Friday, 28 June 2019 08:31 AM

    Good proposal, i think we should not import Chinese cigarettes to this country and burden our balance of payment some more.

    Kingsley Wijesinhe Friday, 28 June 2019 11:07 AM

    Why only Chinese cigarettes? If the government wants to allow the import of cigarettes, people should be able to import any popular brand. It's nonsense that importing cigarettes will cause more people to smoke. The present ban on cigarette imports only helps the Ceylon Tobacco Company to operate a monopoly and reap huge profits while selling a low quality product.


Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment




Porn and Nudes: Delving into Cyber Exploitation in Sri Lanka

The images and videos are distressing. Non-consensual sharing of intimate ima

People at a loss as.... COVID vaccination programme hits a snag

The much awaited vaccination drive for Sri Lankan healthcare staff began on J

42 trees felled; Ambagamuwa PS Chairman - a law unto himself ! Unjust enrichment via natural resources

Ambagamuwa Pradesha Sabha (PS) Chairman Jayasanka Perera was allegedly accuse

The Man Behind Moves to Form the “BJP” in Sri Lanka

The flower bud is the accredited electoral symbol of the Sri Lanka Podujana P

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.