Psychiatrists  welcome graphic warnings on cigarette packs


The Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists (SLCP) has welcomed the Health Ministry’s decision to order that cigarette packets sold in Sri Lanka should carry graphic warning labels on them.

In a statement issued in this regard, the SLCP says the stark images in the picture warnings on tobacco products are a call to action for smokers to quit, and the evidence is that such measures work. Countries which have already implemented such pictorial warnings include Canada, Australia, Britain Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, Singapore, Venezuela, Thailand and Uruguay. The prevalence of smoking has since reduced in those countries.

"Smoking is an addiction of childhood and adolescence with the majority of smokers taking up the habit while still under 18. It is a highly addictive habit, and many smokers find it very difficult to quit. Half of all long-term smokers die early, half of  these in middle age, with many more suffering years of disability as a result of their habit," it notes.

"The Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists is of the opinion that these graphic warnings will help people see the grim reality of the effects of smoking, and become better informed about the risks of smoking. The College is happy to help anyone who wishes to quit smoking and recommends meeting a Mental Health professional based in any hospital. The Ministry of Health is assured of the support of the College of Psychiatrists in its endeavour to reduce the prevalence of smoking in Sri Lanka".

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