Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne is poised to present a Cabinet proposal to ban the sale of loose cigarettes with the objective of reducing tobacco consumption in the country. This comes on the back of research findings that smoking increases the risk of death from cancer and non-communicable diseases.

In addition, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has also proposed to amend the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Act to discourage cigarette consumption.

Nearly 20,000 deaths reportedly occur annually due to smoking in Sri Lanka. Smoking is also known to have an impact on disabilities and non-communicable diseases mainly oral and lung cancers.