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Ban on selling fags near schools

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne will soon introduce a ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products within 500 metres of school premises with the objective of discouraging cigarette consumption amongst school children.

A Cabinet Paper to give effect to this ban has been submitted by him for approval.

"The government has implemented several measures to discourage cigarette consumption. That has been achieved. Cigarette companies are now trying to get school children hooked on cigarettes to sustain their sales," the minister said.

Senaratne added that the government earns a revenue of around Rs 100 billion through taxes and duties imposed on cigarettes and other tobacco products, and approximately Rs 72 billion was spent on treating people diagnosed with various diseases caused by smoking."

He further noted that the government had taken several initiatives to discourage cigarette consumption and will soon take steps to ban selling single cigarettes too.

The Health Ministry is taking this initiative to strengthen laws to discourage cigarette consumption as part of the broader strategy to reduce the adverse health effects of smoking which causes more than 20,000 deaths annually. According to the 2017 Budget Estimates, the government targets raising Rs 105 billion from the excise duty imposed on cigarettes.
Accordingly, in 2017, the excise duty revenue from cigarette sales is expected to increase by Rs 15 billion.

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