Colombo, March 5 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry, on Monday said it would soon seek cabinet approval to raise the age limit of cigarette sales to adults from 18 to 21 years.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that proposals would soon be drafted and following cabinet approval, cigarette sales would be banned to anyone below the age of 21 years.
He said steps were also being taken to ban the sale of cigarettes near schools across the island in order to discourage students from smoking.
He said the sale of cigarettes would be banned within a distance of 100 metres around schools and this will be gazetted on April 7 to coincide with the World Health Day.
A press release by the Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Ministry said the earlier decision was to ban the sale of cigarettes within a distance of 500 metres around schools. But, subsequently, it was reduced to 100 metres.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena recently blamed the use of tobacco and alcohol for the increasing poverty level and deterioration of the health among the poor people in the country.
Sirisena said more than 500 million rupees (an estimated US 3.2 million dollars) was being spent per day in Sri Lanka on tobacco and alcohol and the low income groups were spending 35 percent of their earnings on tobacco and alcohol.
The President further said the government would aim to ban the cultivation of tobacco in the island by the year 2020.