Sri Lanka’s National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol conferred with prestigious World No Tobacco Day Award

In recognition of the outstanding achievements in tobacco control, the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) in Sri Lanka was conferred with the prestigious WHO South-East Asia Region’s “World No Tobacco Day Award” on 31 May 2017.

NATA was established by the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act of 2006 to advise the Government on policies aimed at eliminating tobacco and alcohol related harm. The organization aims to protect children and adults alike from the devastating health, economic and social impacts of alcohol and tobacco products.

As a strong advocate of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), NATA has helped bring about pioneering tobacco control legislation in Sri Lanka. From increased taxes on tobacco to bigger pictorial warnings, NATA has been at the forefront of combating the tobacco industry and health hazards that tobacco bring along.

“NATA has been advocating for tougher tobacco control measures, and strong political leadership has helped us drive the tobacco control agenda forward. Sri Lanka has always been an early adopter of the tobacco control measures outlined in the FCTC and we will continue to look to WHO for guidance as we intensify our efforts against the tobacco epidemic,” said Dr Palitha Abeykoon, NATA Chairman.

Sri Lanka has been amongst the forefront of leaders of tobacco control in the South-East Asia Region. H.E. President Maithripala Sirisena, during his tenure as Minister of Health, and H.E. Dr Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, were previous winners of the World No Tobacco Day Award. Sri Lanka’s tobacco control measures have had and will continue to have a wide ranging impact on public health on the global stage.