Informed sources said yesterday the long overdue pictorial warnings for cigarette packs would be introduced this year despite pressure from the industry and other groups to prevent the policy from being implemented.
Sources said the pictorial warnings were likely to be introduced on cigarette packs in September or October this year.
Sri Lanka was one of the first countries to ratify the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in which Article 11 requires signatories to introduce warning labels and pictures of ailments caused due to smoking cigarettes as a step towards curbing the habit.
Countries were expected to implement the pictorial warnings within three years after ratifying the FCTC. Sri Lanka signed the treaty in 2003 and has delayed the process in the past nine years, a source said.
Authorities said the reason for the delay in the past few was due to discussions over the pictorial labels and issues pertaining to translations in all three languages and other technicalities. However the Health Ministry assured the warnings would be introduced soon.
According to the policy, the labels should appear on the largest sides of the pack on the front and back, should cover at least 50% of the package’s principle display areas and should be in colour.
So far Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore and over 15 other countries have implemented the FCTC policy. (Olindhi Jayasundere)