Tobacco Retailers’ Association Opposing Tobacco Regulations in 2017

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Background

In 2017, Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne proposed to introduce new regulations related to retail sales of cigarettes. The propositions were to ban selling single sticks and ban cigarette sales within 500 meters of any place frequented by children and youth.[1]
Image 1: News article published in Daily Mirror[2]

Oppositions to the Minister of Finance

Daily Mirror, a national newspaper, reported a “Tobacco Retailers Association” (TRA) met the “newly appointed” Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera and opposed the proposed amendments (Image 1). The main argument reported was the negative impact of the price hike of cigarettes on their businesses. The article further reported that they request the Minister to:[2]

  • maintain the cigarette prices at “reasonable levels”
  • not to implement the ban on selling single sticks
  • not to introduce regulations that will affect their businesses

However, the article did not mention any names or titles of the TRA members who went to meet the Minister.

Oppositions to the Prime Minister

Image 2: News article published in the DailyFT newspaper[3]

An article in Daily FT published on the same date reported that the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe appointed a committee to review the newly proposed tobacco policies (Image 2). This committee preceded the cabinet proposal to review the feasibility of tobacco regulation implementing and its effects.[3] The name of the members of the committee were not made public as of 31st December 2017.

Timing

Both aforementioned newspaper articles were published on the day before the World No Tobacco day in 2017 (30th May 2017), on which the President of Sri Lanka was awarded the World No Tobacco Day Award for the year presented by the World Health Organization.[4]

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:

Notes

  1. Daily Mirror. Sale of Loose Fags will be Banned - Rajitha, 09 March 2017, assessed 01 Dec 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 Daily Mirror. [1], 30 May 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 [2], 30 May 2017, accessed 01 Dec 2017
  4. President’s Media Division. Sri Lanka receives World No Tobacco Day Award for third time, PMD News, 23 November 2017, accessed January 2018