The cost of tobacco usage on health and SL economy was 214 billion rupees last year (2019), while the tax revenue from tobacco was 92.9 billion rupees, Executive Director of Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC), Mr. Pubudu Sumanasekera said addressing a media briefing held yesterday at Sri Lanka Foundation, Colombo.
He said that ADIC had formulated a programme that aimed to introduce 2020 General Election candidates to effective policy measures to reduce tobacco, alcohol and other drug use and direct the country to rapid development. He noted that the programme would present the steps which must be taken to reach this goal and obtain the commitment of candidates for this programme through signed pledges.
He further said annually over 35,000 Sri Lankans die due to alcohol and tobacco use. “Many people are being diagnosed with mental disorders due to the use of drugs such as cannabis and heroin. People in our country spend Rs. 380 million, per day on cigarettes and Rs. 590 million, per day on beer and arrack,” he stressed. He said a massive amount of money which could be earned as tax revenue for the government from tobacco and alcohol companies were being lost due to the lack of a rational taxation policy.
In this backdrop, he said ADIC had urged the political candidates expecting to get elected for the parliament, for their support for the programme they had launched.(Nishantha Hewage)