For a tobacco-free nation, Sri Lanka stops cigarette sales in 107 towns

Colombo: At least 107 towns across Sri Lanka have boycotted the sale of cigarettes with the aim of making the country tobacco-free, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

According to the ministry, the Public Health Inspectors Union launched several programmes across the country to educate locals on the ill effects of smoking and as a result, shop owners and businessmen in many towns stopped selling cigarettes.

Ban on tobacco cultivation by 2020

  • Health minister Rajitha Senaratne, while expressing satisfaction over the numbers, said they hope to increase these figures to 200 in 2019.
  • The Sri Lankan government in recent years has taken several steps to discourage smoking and the sale of cigarettes.
  • Among these steps were increasing the tax on tobacco up to 90%, increasing the area of pictorial warning on the cigarette pack to 80%.
  • The government will ban the sale of cigarettes around a radius of 100 metres from schools, declare public places as non-smoking zones, and also consider a ban on tobacco cultivation by 2020.

Boycotted sale of cigarettes

  • 22 Towns in Jaffna.
  • 17 Towns in Matara.
  • 16 Towns in Kurunegala.