Jun 17, 2019

Rajitha says no to imported cigarettes

Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the policy of the Government has been to discourage the sale of cigarettes in Sri Lanka.

He said that the Government took office in 2015 after being elected on a mandate which included discouraging the sale of cigarettes in the country.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera had said earlier that there was a request made to the Government to allow Chinese cigarettes to be imported to the country as most of the Chinese workers in Sri Lanka smoke Chinese cigarettes.

He said that Chinese cigarettes are already being smuggled into the country so the government would be better off legally importing Chinese cigarettes and earning revenue from it.

However he further stated that there are 6,000 Chinese migrant workers and there are nearly 10,000 Indian workers .Therefore the Indian workers could make the same request as well as the Russian workers living in Sri Lanka.

If importation of cigarettes was allowed on such grounds all recognition received from the World Health Organization will fade away and he will not allow it as long as he is the Minister of Health, Senaratne added.