The Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) Union of Sri Lanka has informed Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne that there are 107 towns in Sri Lanka which do not sell cigarettes, a Health Ministry spokesman said.
According to the spokesman, the Union launched several programmes to educate the public on the ill effects of smoking and as a result shop owners and businessmen from many towns stopped selling cigarettes.
There are 22 towns in the Jaffna district, 17 towns in the Matara district, 16 towns in the Kurunegala district which do not sell cigarettes. The total number of towns which do not sell cigarettes is 107.
Minister Senaratne admired the contribution made by PHIs to minimise smoking in the country and expressed hope on increasing the number of towns which do not sell cigarettes up to 200 by by 2019 (next year), he said.
Several steps were taken under the direction of Minister Senaratne during past three years to discourage smoking in the country. “Increasing the tax on tobacco up to 90 percent, increasing the pictorial warning covering 80 percent of the cigarette packet, banning the sale of cigarettes around a radius of 100 metres from a school and banning smoking in public places are some of those steps,” the Minister added.