The Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) expects the Finance Minister and the Central Bank Governor to act swiftly to raise tobacco taxes, which will provide a satisfying solution to the current economic crisis.
In light of the World No Tobacco Day, falling on 31 May, ADIC stated that various positive efforts made in recent years to rectify this situation have been found to be ineffective, owing to various forces operating through the Ministry of Finance.
The theme of this year’s No Tobacco Day will be ‘Poisoning our Planet.’
ADIC Executive Director Pubudu Sumanasekara said that the tobacco tax policy, which is detrimental to the country, should be corrected immediately by the new Prime Minister and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Mahinda Siriwardena, and Governor of the Central Bank Nandalal Weerasinghe.
According to a survey conducted by the ADIC’s Central Bureau in September 2021, 89.3 percent of respondents said that raising taxes would help increase government revenue. The theme’s goal is to educate the public about the environmental consequences of tobacco cultivation, production, and pollution.
The World Health Organization (WHO) observes World No Tobacco Day on 31 May each year to raise public awareness of the health, economic, social, and environmental consequences of tobacco use and to persuade governments and policymakers to address these negative consequences.
According to WHO, nearly eight million people die worldwide each year, with nearly 50 Sri Lankans dying prematurely as a result of tobacco addiction.
Tobacco use is lethal and contributes significantly to a country’s health problems. Tobacco also pollutes the air, water and land, causing further environmental damage.