- NATA President seeks clarification from Attorney General
- GMOA writes to Minister on political position
- No approval given, according to excise and Ayurveda departments
Several state institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Health, trade unions and professional bodies run by the National Tobacco and Alcohol Authority (NATA) have stated that the so-called locally-made “Ayurvedic” cinnamon cigarette was a violation of existing laws and highlighted the serious health risks. posed by these products to public health, in particular children.
Speaking to a press conference yesterday, NATA Chairman Dr Samadhi Rajapakse said his agency had previously written to the manufacturer to inform them of this position. The company replied that it had received the necessary approval from several government agencies, including the Office of Intellectual Property, the Ministry of Industry, the Department of Excise, the Council for Export Development, the Consumer Authority and others.
Dr Rajapakse said that NATA wrote to all these agencies indicating the existing legal situation of the land. The Commissioner General of Excise responded that no authority had been granted to such a product, which was also the position of the Ayurveda Department, adding that no request or approval had been made to use the term “Ayurveda” for this product.
The president of NATA expressed concern that a cabinet minister seen promoting the product might not be aware of the law in force and the health problems posed, adding that his institution would challenge any measures aimed at change the regulations in this regard. WHO and several international agencies have already expressed concern about this product and its recent development, he added.
The NATA referred the case back to the Attorney General for advice on further action, while the agency also informed the Inspector General of Police and the Excise Department regarding law enforcement.
Joining the discussion, Secretary of the Government Physicians Association (GMOA) Dr Harith Aluthge said his organization wrote to the Minister of Health to clarify its position on this issue as it relates to the position policy of the Ministry of Health. He added that the minister should discuss the matter with Cabinet, as these developments call into question the country’s existing law. Dr Aluthge noted that the term “locally made” should not be belittled by promoting products that are harmful to society.
The chairman of the Government Ayurvedic Physicians Association, Dr Prasad Hendawitharana, said that there is no concept of Ayurvedic cigarettes in traditional medicine and no approval has been obtained to use the term ” Ayurveda ”for this product. He added that no one could abuse the term “Ayurveda” and that her association would cooperate with the parties concerned to take legal action against her, as no claims had been filed by the company.
Also present on the occasion, former NATA chairman Dr Palitha Abeykoon dismissed claims that he gave his blessing to the cinnamon cigarette project and said he informed manufacturers that this product was illegal.
Dr Rajapakse pointed out that the tobacco industry was struggling as the incidence of smoking fell to 16% in Sri Lanka thanks to the sustained efforts of the agency, which had been recognized by the World Organization. health through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Concerns have been expressed that Sri could lose its position as a leading country in action against tobacco consumption.
The President of the Sri Lanka Medical Association, Dr Padma Gunarathna, the Director of Mental Health of the Ministry of Health, Dr Rohan Rathnayake, the Resident Consultant of the National Respiratory Medicine Hospital, Dr Geethal Perera, the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board and other agencies have joined the discussion in condemning the move to manufacture and promote cinnamon cigarettes in Sri Lanka.
The measure will promote smoking and the habit of smoking in general, which is extremely dangerous for human health, they reiterated.