Carlo vows to introduce pictorial warnings

Anti-tobacco laws

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Chairman Prof. Carlo Fonseka yesterday pictorial warnings would be printed on packets of tobacco products regardless of resistance from some quarters.

Prof. Fonseka said around 40 to 50 persons died daily in Sri Lanka due to smoking. The only motive of the cigarette manufacturing firms was profit maximisation. NATA would go all out to implement the Tobacco and Alcohol Act to save the people.

Prof. Fonseka noted that two months back, the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena had issued a special gazette notification making it mandatory from Nov. 8 for all packets of cigarettes to carry pictorial warnings. He pointed out that around 40 countries, including Australia and Canada, had enforced the legislation to print pictorial warnings on packets of tobacco products. But Sri Lanka was late to implement it. He said: "In my opinion the cigarette companies have lost their customers considerably as a result of awareness programmes conducted on the evils of smoking. But the companies will do everything possible to stabilise their sales."

Prof. Fonseka added that the Framework Convention on Tobacco and Alcohol had asked the Sri Lankan government to ratify the Act by printing the pictorial warnings on packets of cigarettes.

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