Ban shows double standards

| August 7, 2017

Sri Lanka’s ban on chewing ‘smokeless tobacco’ has come under criticism by people who say that, in not banning smoking, the government is adopting double standards, according to a story by Chrishanthi Christopher for The Sunday Times.

The government recently banned smokeless tobacco through a gazette notice after it was approved in parliament in April 2017.

The notice banned the manufacture, sale and possession of all smokeless tobacco products, and mixtures that contain tobacco, including the betel quid, which has tobacco strips.

However, the growing, chewing and selling of betel leaves are not banned.

A recent World Health Organization survey was said to have shown that six percent of school children were chewing commercially-produced arecanut.

The chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol, Dr. Palitha Abeykoon, said the survey had shown that many of the school children were addicted to arecanut, which they kept under their tongues and used for the high it could produce.

The finding had necessitated the ban on smokeless tobacco products, he said.

The aim of the ban was reportedly not to deprive people of their traditional betel chewing habits but from using tobacco in the betel quid.

Chewing smokeless tobacco, unlike traditional betel chewing, was said to be ‘most dangerous and addictive, killing people within two years’.

The smokeless-tobacco products, which were said to contain a mixture of arecanut, tobacco, sweeteners and spices, were said to come from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Interestingly, the story said, these products were banned in the countries that exported them.

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, Markets, OTP, People, Regulation

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