Action will be taken to ban the selling of 180ml arrack bottles and cigarettes as individual sticks, the National Authority on Tobacco & Alcohol (NATA) said.
NATA Chairman Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksa told the Daily Mirror that retail selling of cigarettes and the buying capacity of 180ml arrack bottles had become an inevitable trend in the country.
"The tax on tobacco and alcohol must be increased. Selling and consuming of arrack comes in 180ml bottles have become very high and due to which consequent anti-social activities too have increased in society, that also impacts the environment as empty bottles are strewn in the surrounding environment. These bottles have become a daily ritual for daily wage earners," Dr. Rajapaksa said.
Rules will be implemented not to manufacture cigarette packets with a maximum number of 20 sticks, he said.
Therefore, people will be discouraged from buying cigarettes due to unaffordable higher selling price. This could decrease the number of smokers in the country, he said.
A total number of 110 deaths are being reported daily due to smoking and consuming alcohol, he said.
"60 people who smoke die every day and 55% of them were under the age of 70-years. 55 people who consume liquor perish every day. It is due to various ailments and non-communicable diseases, the NATA head said.
"15.8% of the youth who are under 14-years of age have addicted to smoking. 32% of the smokers are males and 0.3% are females. 19.38% of people in the country consume alcohol while 40.8% of them are males and 0.26% are females," Dr. Rajapaksa said.
People who are addicted to smoking and indulged in consuming alcohol used to spend nearly Rs.1,000 million daily, NATA Chairman added. (Chaturanga Samarawickrma)