July 16, Colombo: Chairman of the National Tobacco and Alcohol Authority (NATA) Dr. Palitha Abeykoon said the Authority has taken steps to strictly enforce the National Tobacco and Alcohol Act island wide from today (16).
He was speaking at a press conference held at the Health Promotion Bureau in Colombo yesterday.
Speaking further, Dr. Abeykoon said special raids have been organized island wide through the offices of the Health Medical Officers. Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) as authorized officers to enforce the Act will carry out raids to trace persons who violate the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act No. 27 of 2006.
Accordingly, the raids will be carried out today (16) and tomorrow (17) in the vicinity of Kataragama sacred town where the Esala Perahera will commence today.
Legal action will be taken against those who use alcohol in public places, dealers, who provide cigarettes, alcohols arrack and beer to persons under 21 years of age, those who promote alcohol consumption.
The raids will be held with the participation of around 2,500 PHIs across the country, Dr. Abeykoon said adding that the public will be protected by strict implementation of existing laws.
President of the Association of Public Inspectors of Sri Lanka, Upul Rohana, said that even people who use 'babul' tobacco and arecanut in betel quids will be arrested and prosecuted.
Director of the Non Communicable Diseases Unit Dr. Thilak Siriwardena joining the briefing said that about 245 people die every day due to non-communicable diseases.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Health spends about 200 billion rupees a year on health issues caused by smoking and alcohol.
He urged the public to call the hotline telephone number 1948 to report any violations of the Tobacco and Alcohol Act.