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Delay in Law to Implement Pictorial Health Warnings: Attorney General's Department to be blamed?

Colombo, April 8 -- The Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena stated that the law to be implemented on 'Pictorial Health Warnings' had been already recommended and submitted to the Attorney General's Department and action would be taken to implement them as soon as they are received from the AG's office.

The Minister stated so during a discussion held recently between the Presidents of Cancer Care Association and Jeewaka Foundation when they submitted written requests to the Minister asking for speedy implementation of this law.

The Minister who completely agreed to implementation of this law said "we have already submitted our recommendations, the delay is with the Attorney General's Department and requested to contact AG's office and ask why the delay is. "

In the written request of the two organizations it states;

The World Health Organization in 2005 along with 174 countries entered into a tobacco control international treaty. Sri Lanka ratified the treaty in 2003 as the First Asian country. Although the Parties to the treaty should have implemented the 11th Article being implementation of the Pictorial Health Warnings on all tobacco products by the end of 2008, it has not still been done by Sri Lanka.

Other countries in the world including in Asia who have implemented PHW regulation are reaping good results. Of them Singapore, Thailand, Uruguay, Canada, Australia, a decrease in smoking prevalence is reported.

According to the World Health Organization, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death. Every year due to smoking about 5 million people in the world meet with untimely death. In every 6 seconds a person die due to smoking. While 100 million people died of smoking in the 20th century, it will increase to one billion in the 21st century. In Sri Lanka over 20,000 in a population of 20 million die every year due to smoking.

Non-smoking people too undergo diseases such as lung cancer, heart diseases, respiratory diseases etc. as a result of passive smoking. In Sri Lanka since the health service is free of charge, it is a huge burden to the government. The government has to spend on these sick people in many folds than the revenue that the government receives from the tobacco company.

* When PHW is implemented on tobacco products;

* It reaches all smokers

* The attraction for smoking is distracted; gives a message to smokers; helps to quit.

* There is no expenditure to the government to introduce PHWs.

* Potential smokers too would not be interested.

* Speedy implementation of this regulation would undoubtedly help to uplift the well-being of the country's citizens; we earnestly request you to expedite the process.

Representatives from the Cancer Care Association and Jeewaka Foundation were present at this occasion.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Date:Apr 8, 2012
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