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Proposal to impose 80% pictorial warnings on tobacco packs approved

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Cabinet has approved a proposal made by Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to make it compulsory for tobacco companies to cover 80% of the surface area of tobacco packs with pictorial health warnings.

Accordingly, the proposal made by the minister to revise clause No. 34 of the National Authority Bill on Tobacco and Spirits to include information on the danger of health hazards that could be caused by the use of tobacco products in the packs containing tobacco products and to make it compulsory to display pictorially this danger on 80% of the surface area of such tobacco product packs, has been approved, the government said.

The Cabinet of Ministers approved to consider this proposal as an Emergency Bill under Clause 122 of the Constitution and present it to the Parliament.

The Cabinet has also approved to revise the current penalty of Rs.2000 and one year’s imprisonment applicable in the event of not taking action to enlighten the consumers in accordance with this Bill to a penalty of Rs.50, 000 and one year’s imprisonment.

Further, it has been decided that the health warnings issued by the Authority that has been established for this purpose should be changed once every six months. 

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet press briefing today, Health Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said as it was the minister who had earlier decided on the percentage of area on the pack that should be covered.

“The Supreme Court has the authority to nullify a decision taken by a minister. However, this time, we will ensure that the legislation regarding 80 percent pictorial warnings would be legalized through the Parliament itself. No court has the authority to strike it down once it is legalized by Parliament,” he explained.

Last modified on Thursday, 29 January 2015 18:04
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