President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized the imperative need to tackle the issue of indirect and insidious advertising of alcohol and alcohol products through cross border social media and entertainment channels digital marketing. Government’s find it extremely difficult to control these.
In his speech to the ‘Alcohol, NCDs and Sustainable Development’ at the United Nations last Friday (September 28th) President Sirisena said, “It is time for us to have an open dialogue to tackle alcohol issues surpassing national borders”. While President was the Chief Guest at the Forum, organized by the World Health organization on the sidelines of the 73rd Session of the UNGA, his key speech was read by Minister of Western Development and Megapolis Development, Champika Ranawaka.
The President stated that Sri Lanka would give unstinted backing for advocating a legally binding international treaty for alcohol control. In his speech, President Sirisena outlined the steps taken by Sri Lanka to gradually control alcohol consumption in the country. “The Government considers alcohol use as a major health issue and a serious impediment to development. It also has been a major hindrance to our efforts to address poverty”.
The President, in his address, he said that alcohol control act in Sri Lanka prohibits all direct and indirect advertising and in 2015 we had also included a separate section on preventing interference by the alcohol industry. After delivering the President’s address, Minister Ranawaka invited the participants at the Forum to attend the International Conference on Alcohol & Tobacco issues scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka next year.
The next speaker, Director General of Health Service of Estonia thanked the Sri Lankan President for highlighting the most important and relevant issues regarding the issues of alcohol and tobacco.