Ban of single stick cigarettes
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Thirasara Foundation, Sri Lanka
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A123
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Sri Lanka implemented FCTC´s Article 11 at 80% from June 2015. Thirasara Foundation in collaboration with Jeewaka Foundation initiated a study in 2016 to monitor the compliance with the PHW printed on tobacco packets in 18 out of the 26 health districts of the country.
The study established that the conformity with the law is 100 percent, but informal evidence suggests that few purchase cigarettes as packets. Self-evidently PHWs cannot be significantly impact in reduction of smoking. Why? Because the majority purchase cigarettes in singles.
Therefore banning single cigarette sale should be a moderating part of the country´s tobacco control policy.
Single stick sales facilitate smoking among non-affluent youth and beginning smoking. Retailers are more likely to sell single cigarettes to minors than to adults, thus probably initiation of smoking.

Intervention or response:
The first step was to gather information related to sale of single stick cigarettes locally by observation and internationally by a literature survey.
Based on the information leaflets were prepared for propaganda purposes.
The importance of banning single stick cigarette sales was communicated to policy makers including the President of the Republic of Sri Lanka and the Health Minister. (with a legal background)
The documents for formally demanding the ban of single cigarettes and other tobacco demand reducing proposals were prepared and submitted to the influential GMOA for necessary action.
The GMOA had a formal meeting with HE, the President and the Health Minister for implementation of the proposals.
Wide publicity was secured by the media, print, electronic and social.

Results and lessons learnt:
The government, not only accepted the desirability of banning sale of single stick cigarettes, in order to promote reduction of tobacco use, but took practicable steps to implement the proposal.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Demand reduction policies for tobacco if clearly conceptualized and enthusiastically publicized can be made a reality.

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