Pharmaceutical and tobacco companies will attempt to secure his removal as the Minister of Health, using whatever means possible, Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne said.
He was speaking at the opening of a fitness centre, the first in the initiative to establish a string of such establishments, in a bid to reduce non-communicable......diseases in Sri Lanka. The Health ministry has allocated Rs 20 million to each fitness centre for the purchase of equipment.
"Non-communicable diseases are a major problem affecting us. 70% of patients admitted to Sri Lankan hospitals are suffering from non -communicable diseases. The main reasons for the spread of non-communicable diseases are smoking, alcohol abuse and eating sweetened, salty and fatty foods. The government imposed a 90% tax of tobacco companies, which will give us Rs 100 billion per year. But we must remember that the government spends a lot more money to treat people suffering from non-communicable diseases," he said.
He added that in Sri Lanka 35,000 people die each year due to the use of tobacco and alcohol. In an attempt to further reduce smoking, steps will be taken to make vendors sell cigarettes only by the pack in the future, he added.(Ceylontoday)