by Pradeep Prasanna Samarakoon and Chaminda Silva
The Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) ays that 48 percent of Lankan smokers have kicked the habit due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The centre points out that this is a very good trend and that about 50 percent of the people who have given up smoking will never smoke again.
ADIC Human Development Director Sampath de Saram said that smokers were at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 and more likely to be seriously affected by the disease.
He said that nearly 40 people died daily in Sri Lanka due to smoking. De Saram said that Sri Lanka was one of the leading countries in reducing smoking and that there was also a need to implement a number of policies to prevent smoking.
“We have observed that there was a reduction of 40 to 50 percent of cigarette smoking during the past year. Compared to the previous year’s statistics, we observe that there is a 12 percent reduction so far this year. This is a good trend. In order to boost this trend we are planning to have regulations introduced to stop the sale of single stick cigarettes. Studies around the world show that selling single stick cigarettes makes smoking more affordable for the underprivileged and the minors who are unable to afford packs with 12-20 cigarettes. And we will also lobby for the implementation of another regulation to ban selling cigarettes within 100 meter radius of educational institutions.”