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Smoke, drink, pay

21 December 2010 08:57 am - 87     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


A new policy will be implemented by the Health Ministry from January 2011, which makes it compulsory for alcohol and cigarette users to pay for any government medical services they receive, Health Ministry officials said today.

The Ministry official said that non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, cancer and high blood pressure are often due to the excessive consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. He said the ministry has decided to take these measures to encourage a drop in people’s consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.

“In Sri Lanka about 350 people die each day due to NCD’s. 80% of those who suffer from NCD’s are between the ages 40-50. Out of that number, 80% of them are male. This age group is essential for the growth and prosperity of a family. We have to put a stop to this trend because when people suffer and die from these types of diseases their children don’t have parental support or a proper upbringing and the economy is burdened,” the ministry official said. (Olindhi Jayasundere)

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  Comments - 87

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  • Narendra Gunatillake Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:53 AM

    What ever people may think or say over this issue, I fully support this move. I am a taxpayer and I do not want these idiots treated FOC with the hard earned money of the tax payers. They may be paying a tax when they purchase but that is not an entitlement for future medical care but only as a cost factor discouraging the sale of these human killing stuff. Implementation wise this may cause few hick-ups for a short time but all should help the authorities to implement this very tightly irrespective of any political bias. I wish to congratulate the Heath Minister for this very bold decision and if needed will even assist voluntarily to improve the system using my experience in the IT field. Dogs may bark but the mountains will never come down. All the best.

    Ravindra Jayasuriya Tuesday, 21 December 2010 04:04 PM

    well they need to find why people smoke and drink. not try to force them not to do. most of them that smoke and drink are the once that does sum thing and who see whats going on. we don't want a group of zombies who say YES sir to anything they say. dance to there music. if Ur eyes and ears are open you shall see and hear whats going on ... this will make u feel down ..and smoking and drinking can give some what help for these people.

    Zouk Fernando Tuesday, 21 December 2010 03:57 PM

    You will see ascharya in less than 5 years time. not on this earth but on some place up or down. your death certificate will say Cause of Death - Lung Cancer..................

    jt Tuesday, 21 December 2010 03:12 PM

    absolutely stupid move! how on earth are they going to differentiate between people who have these NCDs as a result of cigarettes and alcohol. and people who get them naturally? People can get any of these diseases due to a lot of other factors than just booze and cigarettes!

    slaight Tuesday, 21 December 2010 02:43 PM

    Smokers and Drinkers should get a Reduced tax band. Otherwise costing them for Free Medical services and not providing is just robbery.

    Gobbaya Tuesday, 21 December 2010 02:09 PM

    let me elaborate, at the risk of getting more 'negative' points.

    one can argue that smokers and drinkers already pay a premium in the form of taxes on their drink and ciggies.
    this has nothing to do with economics, this is just a bit of a play to the gallery and from the comments, it seems to have worked brilliantly for them.
    the poor man who has a lower life expectancy, whose only refuge is having an occasional LEGAL drink or fag will be the one who suffers the most.
    the middle and upper classes will have their private healthcare for the most part.

    if you still think i am being unreasonable, go ahead, give me a thumbs down

    Gobbaya Tuesday, 21 December 2010 02:08 PM

    i'm pretty sure you were being sarcastic, but this is the sort of ludicrous idea that the govt would also implement.
    the healthcare system and the govt has a duty to look after ALL its citizens without discrimination.

    ibnu Batuta Tuesday, 21 December 2010 01:13 PM

    I know many a politicians who drink & smoke. Will it apply to them too...? I doubt very much.

    srinath gunaratne Tuesday, 21 December 2010 12:21 PM


    Smokers and drinkers can also be tax payers doing proper jobs. They are entitled the same cover as a normal person. This is violation of human rights.

    sg Tuesday, 21 December 2010 12:08 PM

    Can we make a discipline by using only this kind of tactics, it should be initiated with changing of the attitudes of thge people and giving enabling enviorment for tem on relavant matters. Drinking and smoking are some time indirect resuilts of the verious kind of social unrest , first, relavant authority must drawn their attention to reduce this root cousess which has coused to social unrest.

    Mahadana Mutta Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:59 AM

    Yes good point

    goodboy Tuesday, 21 December 2010 04:16 PM

    agree bro.......awesum

    Gobbaya Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:45 AM

    dangerous move although it will be popular with the non-smoking and non-drinking population

    SK Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:45 AM

    Also charge from victims of road traffic accidents. It will help to reduce the number of accidents. Yet another stupid "kekille" decision!!!

    Imran Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:37 AM

    Hope this will be applicable even to Prime Minister of the country.

    mwah Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:27 AM

    A very good move, but the problem will be on the basis of identifying who is the smoker/alcholic and who doesn't consume alchol/cigarette. If this is implemented, it should be applicable to all, any how, for ministers this amount will be a negligible amount, as they are filthy rich, playing out our money....

    Amadyapa Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:25 AM

    OK rice eaters are wise. I feel very sad about your grass eating so far.20+ is a good age to undustand the right and wrong least now start eating rice.Grass eaters are going to hell others are seeing heven now.

    Mohamed Shafraz Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:14 AM

    Please don't talk from your state! please visit some slum and see there are lot of poor begging for food. how can pay they medicine. Do you know people who can afford medical bills goes to private dispensaries and hospitals, who comes to Government are either they can't effort bills or service they need are not available in private.

    xlntgson Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:12 AM

    @sxhabeeb, sue the companies now itself before you go to hospital with cirrhosis!

    Hiru Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:10 AM

    Government highest tax revenue come from tobacco and liquor.
    The tax paid by smokers and drinkers go to fund the hospital to buy drugs and equipment to pay for treat everyone including non smokers and non drinkers.So when they fall ill they have the right for treatment as they have paid mostly the taxes to the government.

    xlntgson Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:10 AM

    Like water rates, they started from Rs. 30/- onwards
    I remember.

    xlntgson Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:07 AM

    Noggin, approximately 125 ml sachet pack rationed at subsidized rate for every drunk addict?

    Rufus R. Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:06 AM

    Next move. No free medical care for bread eaters. No free medicine for cholesterol high patients who are caught consuming coconuts. More such laws following.

    raj Wednesday, 22 December 2010 10:16 AM

    If the government thinks that the mentioned problems are are due to cigarettes and alcohol consumption then why can't they close and ban this production and distribution?????????????

    Faqi Wednesday, 22 December 2010 08:19 AM

    Iroshan - Well said. How could one definitely isolate any illness to Alcohol or smoking, Many people die of lung cancer who have never touched a cigarette in their lives.

    Iroshan Wednesday, 22 December 2010 05:02 AM

    How come this is a good move, diabetes, strokes, heart attacks & cancer sometimes due to alcohol and sometimes due to completely different reasons like dietary or genetical. This is a veiled effort by the health ministry to privatize the Healthcare system. Who is going to say whether a illness is due to alcoholism or not & if someone do get ill because of alcoholism do we deny care for him condemn him to death? . In the end only the helpless is going to suffer

    suresh Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:51 AM

    If everybody stopped smoking and drinking, this government will have no money to do anything!

    weere Wednesday, 22 December 2010 04:19 AM

    Brilliant idea by the authorities to stop free medicine to public

    Lankan Man Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:44 AM

    At least one policy to praise the Government for.. it would have been better if they increased the liquor and cigarette prices by about 500% if they really wanted people to reduce consumption.

    palitha Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:15 AM

    There will be lot from parliament to pay this money.

    azaan Wednesday, 22 December 2010 03:12 AM

    When implementing policies, their needs to be a holistic view where all things are considered, all ideas cannot be implemented, even though it sounds good this policy is ineffective as it will affect the non smokers ultimately, think about it!!!!!!

    ingenious Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:54 AM

    Ajay is the only one who made a valid comment. How do we differentiate. All those illnesses are affiliated thousands of non drinkers/smokers - human stress brings on most of it.


    Buddhika Wednesday, 22 December 2010 02:36 AM

    Really good move.
    And it is better to charge for drink and drive accidents, there are about 60% admissions to government hospitals related to drink and drive so it is better to at least 500/= per any person admitted to government hospitals with alcohol.

    sherlock holmes Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:10 AM

    so how are they going distinguish the Smoker from the non smoker and the boozer from the non-boozer. The Best thing to do is to create a NON-SMOKING trend among the youth and young adults.

    asoka abeywardena Wednesday, 22 December 2010 12:28 AM

    hey people, now do not get panic. this is SL money can do know what i am telling...little money can change the lab why worry now...

    asoka abeywardena Wednesday, 22 December 2010 12:17 AM

    ok, what will happen to a person who smoked some time back and now he's given up got ill...?

    Niran Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:39 PM

    MK, right said. You are a doctor. Not a policy maker nor an accountant. Stick to your field of expertise.

    Ruhunu Puthra Tuesday, 21 December 2010 07:09 PM

    Good move. But how practicle is it to implement it? Can all diseses be traced whether it s due to alcohol or smoking?

    Fair N Square Tuesday, 21 December 2010 06:50 PM

    LOL and may be Multiple for all I know with the facts u gave.

    Fair N Square Tuesday, 21 December 2010 06:41 PM

    LOL '" IF YOU CHOOSE TO SMOKE PLEASE DO NOT EXHALE" coz if u inhale it is fine but passive smokers are affected more.

    Fair N Square Tuesday, 21 December 2010 06:40 PM

    Moonstone or MOONSHINE ! (*_*)

    Ami Tuesday, 21 December 2010 05:13 PM

    Will that address the " Route Cause " doc ??? This govt has never come up with an idea that is ppl friendly !

    MK Tuesday, 21 December 2010 04:17 PM

    I'm a doctor working in a surgical casualty unit. According to my experience, almost all road traffic accidents and assaults come after 6.00pm (specially on holidays) due to alcoholics. We spend a lot of time, effort and government money on them. I think those people should pay double the cost.

    lankaputha Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:39 AM

    Good move, but, why don't you ban the alcohol and Cigarette. So no need to charge from patients there after. Plus it will save a lot in multiple fronts such like "No Road accidents, No neutral smoke effects. etc...

    sxhabeeb Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:59 AM

    People who eat rice talk wisely. i am 42+, i was addicted for smoking when i was 20+,cause the TV & other media ADv. Now they say diferent talking. if the goverment want the patient it shluld be for all patients. find the cause and let them pay for it.... slowly this country is heading towards hell... not to the "ascharya".

    True is here Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:59 AM

    niyamai,gahen watunu minihata gona anapu katawak,well done health ministry.please check first health minister and his deputy .this its first kind of punishment in asia.

    lankaputha Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:57 AM

    very true, we spend a lot to maintain them.. stop the big holes, then look for the small holes.

    Sumal Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:50 AM

    Correct. Provide tax relief for smokers and alcoholics.

    AjayH Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:57 AM

    This is a STUPID idea. Diabetes, Heart attacks, Stroke, High blood pressure, Cancer etc can be caused by factors other than
    Alcohol and smoking. How will this be determined, and will not any system brought in for this purpose be open to easy abuse ?
    This is a violation of ones fundamental right to equality.

    Bish Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:48 AM

    Really good move. But, This move to be implemented, rather just saying. We also remember fine on public smokers was not implemented.

    Thuwan Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:50 AM

    Is this rule only to the common man?? or Politicians included.?

    If this is a common rule to all, none of the MPs will get free med from government hospitals . You know why . Starting from the top man down all are heavy boozers... hope the law will be same for all .

    mohamed Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:43 AM

    First of all can impose these ruels to our ministers. The big hole is there only...Then public will also be stopped on consuming these.

    Cynic Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:43 AM

    Why not charge patients for sexually transmitted diseases too?

    Pawlpakse Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:42 AM

    Very good move

    lankaputha Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:12 AM

    Another comment, should this be applied to the people who consume liqour provided from the "Raja Gedara"

    John Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:38 AM

    AIDs people recieve free medical because they are wealthy people.

    Geriatrix Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:27 AM

    i think they should first implement this to Moonshine drinkers (Kasippu).

    Mohan Meegolle Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:23 AM

    I think this is fantastic. Government should also seriously consider charging a nominal fee for all medical services provided by the state owned hospitals. It can be a token amount. If anything is free, or get it easy, its the human tendancy to take it for granted. I think majority of people can afford to pay something (possibly Rs 20-30 and upwards) so that such monies can go for the development, upkeep and welfare of caregivers.

    kalakanniya Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:22 AM

    only the heavy consumption of alcohol cause this problem, if use little no problem, like our hnourablr transport minister

    lankaman Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:24 AM

    It is a good move. Also why not consider heavy fines for those who violate anti-public smoking rules?

    democrat Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:19 AM

    gooooood.......Ministers do meaningful things sometimes.

    TMA Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:20 AM

    This is a good move. But as usual in Sri Lanka, the govt. will come up with the same excuse even if the cause is not alcohol

    Chams Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:13 AM

    The very same people who pay the most in taxes to provide funding for hospitals, etc. are deprived of medical facilities. damn shame!

    Kiripitige Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:02 AM

    This seems to be a very good move.

    Minister Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:04 AM

    Good strategy to reduce the budget deficit next year with income expected from boozers and smokers!

    nazmi Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:31 AM

    appreciated from ma deep heart.sri lanka is changeing a lot lovely hats off to mr.mahinda rajapaksha..

    xlntgson Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:58 AM

    @Bluff Bluff, you are too serious; you are not bluffing indeed!

    Ombudsman Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:55 AM

    Good move though it came little too late.

    gUL FERNANDO Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:53 AM

    Sumal don't talk much it view reveal your personal status, heavy drinker and non tax payer

    Alian Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:54 AM

    how can this be a good that case the Govt will have to return all the tax paid by the patient for the alcohol and tobacco

    Saradial Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:46 AM

    I guess you are working in Health sector, thats why you are so interest in charging for medicine. Do you know we pay tax for this kind of service not for enjoyed by politiciens.

    Saradial Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:36 AM

    Why government let public to drink and then charge for medicine? Duble earning? if really warnt to stop drink why can't ban them? Government trying to kill two birds in single stone.

    srinath gunaratne Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:38 AM

    Another Banana, Be reasonable and just, Treat everyone equally. Addiction is a illness, People need thrapy not bills.

    rosh Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:41 AM

    it wont happen buddy, they will start making moonstone at home...

    Mushi Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:29 AM

    Ban of smoking or drinking gives a negative impression for tourists travelling to a country depending on tourism. This is a good move to indirectly control heavy drinkers or smokers who finally become burden to tax payers causing economic and social problems.

    kassa Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:31 AM

    Mathata Thita

    Bluff Bluff Tuesday, 21 December 2010 09:03 AM

    In Sinhala this is called squeezing garlic. Why not ban them completely rather than going around the mulberry bush?

    Nihal Amarasekera Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:22 AM

    Another silly ad hock trial & error policy decision.

    Lal Sumanaweera Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:28 AM

    How come Diabetic comes under this catagory. What sort of advisors or expert in the ministry. Children have diabetic. Women have diabetic. Men those who have never consume alchole or smoking cigerette get diabetic. This rule violating people's wright.

    MK Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:23 AM

    Excellent move! This will bring down people wasting their money for booze and narcotics.

    sanna Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:26 AM

    this good idea.

    Sandun Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:21 AM

    Our guys just say good move without considering about root cause. Yes men...

    DHA Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:20 AM

    Does this rule apply for Ministers too.....

    sltk2004 Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:23 AM

    What about the revenue earned by taxing tobacco and liquor companies ?

    Rifkhan Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:16 AM

    Protect the passive smokers as well. Charge from the smokers and spend it on the passive smokers

    The Undertaker Tuesday, 21 December 2010 10:16 AM


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