Sept 22, Colombo: State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya says that 169 arrests have been made in the first eight months of the fiscal year related to promoting the use of cigarettes and alcohol through the Internet.
The investigations were carried out with the support of the Cyber Crime Investigation Division of the Excise Department.
The National Tobacco and Alcohol Authority has introduced a media policy for this promotion. In addition to this, a mobile phone application named ‘VNATA mobile application media violations’ has been introduced to inform about the direct or indirect promotion campaigns.
“These apprehensions were conducted with an aim to discourage smoking and drinking, despite many claiming that the Government is heavily dependent on tax revenue generated from both tobacco and alcohol,” State Minister Siyambalapitiya said.
Pointing out that the government is working to discourage smoking and alcohol in accordance with the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act No. 27 of 2006, Minister Siyambalapitiya mentioned that the government is also implementing counseling services to rescue addicts.
However, the State Minister Siyambalapitiya expressed confidence that due to the measures taken by the government to discourage the use of cigarettes and alcohol, the expenditure on the health sector will be minimal.