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Sri Lanka wants to tighten tobacco laws

05 Jan 2022. Sri Lanka has approved a special tax on tobacco and considers raising the legal age to buy tobacco from 21 to 24 years, report econonmynext and The Morning.

According to economynext, Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had cleared a Special Goods and Services Tax law (GST) and changes to the Value Added Tax. The Special GST consolidates several taxes on liquor, cigarettes, telecommunications, betting and gaming and vehicles, the government said.


According to The Morning, the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Chairman Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksa said that the NATA hopes to increase the legal age to purchase alcohol and tobacco from 21 years to 24 years. Speaking at a NATA Advocacy Programme Panel Discussion held on 29 December, he stated: “We hope to increase the legal age to 24 years because medical science has proven that 24 years is the proper age when the brain is fully and correctly developed. We will be the first country to make it 24 years.” He added that they hope to propose this amendment to the NATA Act No.27 of 2006 in 2022, as part of a wider range of reforms that are occurring to update the existing law and regulations, the report said.

Earlier in 2021, the NATA said that it had conducted a public survey which showed that 65 per cent of respondents supported banning the sale of single-stick cigarettes, and that over 50 per cent of respondents did not believe that cigarettes should be legal in the country.