He was speaking today morning (20) at the opening of the new pharmaceutical manufacturing factory in Bellapitiya, Horana.
The Rs. 2.5 billion investment is set to create 450 jobs for Sri Lankan youth and will produce drugs, medical creams and perfumes under international standards.
The minister said that Sri Lanka has implemented 09 out the 10 WHO recommendations to minimise smoking, which have led to a drastic decline in smoking.
However, he said that there are attempts to create views that this has led to a rise in Beedi usage among smokers.
"That is a lie. Nicotine addicts cannot get that high and satisfaction with Beedi," he said, adding that certain officers in the Treasury too, sympathise with Tobacco companies.
The minister said that if illegal cigarettes are on the rise in Sri Lanka, the government, police and the Customs should collaborate to take measures against it. These products are brought down by Tobacco companies who later give the tipoff themselves, the minister said.
The opening of the factory was graced by a large crowd including the chairman of the SPMC - Dr. Sayura Samarasundara, staff and director board members of the factory and officials of the Seylan Bank.