London 21 October (BAN/DT) Sri Lanka’s laws around tobacco products have strengthened as the country aim to become tobacco free by 2020. Currently, laws in Sri Lanka ban illegally imported cigarettes; ban the manufacture, import and sale of smokeless tobacco products and the sale of tobacco products is prohibited to people under the age of 21. It is evident that the laws are in place to reduce the use of tobacco in the country and Dr. Sajeewa Ranaweera, a member of the Expert Committee on Tobacco & Alcohol of the Sri Lanka Medical Association believes that the enforcement by Customs and other responsible authorities is the way that smuggled cigarettes can be stopped and not by legalising them.
Many Chinese workers are said to have smuggled in Chinese cigarettes into the country and even though officials are proposing to legalise Chinese cigarettes to reduce black market trade, Customs are still trying their hardest to prevent illegally imported cigarettes.
Customs have seized an import of 1.2 million cigarette sticks from China. These illegally imported cigarettes are worth Rs.74 million are were destroyed by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Sri Lanka Customs officers to prevent them from entering the country.