Distributors of free cigarettes:We were doing a job
Advertising of any kind when it comes to tobacco is strictly forbidden under the NATO Act No. 27 of 2006 and therefore it was an outright flagrant violation of this Act that took place on the 28th of July 2009. Around 8.00 pm on that day, the police received information that free cigarettes were being given out on the Fife Road, Colombo 5, outside Randoli’s Restaurant.
The Chairman of the National Authority of Tobacco and Alcohol, Prof. Carlo Fonseka, in a letter to the Inspector General of Police, said yesterday that three members of the group who had been followed to Kiribathgoda on the Kandy Road had been reprimanded by the police. They had politely informed the three members that what they had been doing was illegal and would not be tolerated. In response, they told the police that they were merely doing a job for which they were paid. This statement caused great concern to officials who lodged a formal complaint at the Narahenpita Police Station as the distribution of tobacco as a form of advertising is not tolerated under the NATO Act No. 27 of 2006, he said.
Prof. Fonseka added that the Ceylon Tobacco Company, NATO and the Inspector General of Police have all been made aware of this flagrant act of violation. NATO and the enforcing authorities are serious in implementing Act No. 27 of 2006 and will continue ensuring that the Act is adhered and that no more incidents of this kind occur.