Ciggies to go up by Rs. 4 or Rs. 5

BY Dinitha Rathnayake

With the introduction of a pricing formula for cigarettes, post Budget 2022, the price of a cigarette is expected to be increased by Rs. 4 or Rs. 5, the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) said.

Speaking to the media yesterday (4), NATA Chairman Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksa said that a pricing formula has been formulated by the NATA to discourage the purchase of cigarettes, adding that it will be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers by Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella.

Accordingly, after this Budget, the price of a cigarette will increase by Rs. 4 or Rs. 5, and in another five years, it will increase by Rs. 20, Dr. Rajapaksa said, adding that the latter price increase constitutes an increase of more than 20%.

He said that smoking in Sri Lanka kills about 60 people a day and about 22,000 a year.

“Such a decision was taken for the safety of the people. I believe that smoking is one of the main causes of poverty. A higher percentage will be added to the Sri Lankan Government’s revenue as taxes due to the said pricing formula,” he added.

There are less cigarettes in the market at present as the traders have hidden cigarettes, knowing that the price of cigarettes is going to go up, Dr. Rajapaksa further added.

According to him, people in the tobacco industry were shocked by the decision concerning the introduction of a pricing formula and had attempted to stop this process.

“We will not take a step back for any reason. There is no scientific method to decide the cigarette price at the moment in Sri Lanka. I urge all of you to not sell cigarettes since you are selling death to the public by doing so,” Dr. Rajapaksa said.