IOGT International Celebration Conference inaugurated under the patronage of President

IOGT International Celebration Conference inaugurated under the patronage of President

I have no doubt that Sri Lanka’s remarkable position as the first country in Asia, and the fourth in the world, to ratify the WHO FCTC, and other achievements in the field of prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, stated President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the inauguration of the  IOGT International Celebration Conference, today (31) at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel, Kandy.

“In my former office as Minister of Health, I understood the necessity for effective policies, laws and regulations to control the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs on society,” the President further said.

I have established a Presidential Task Force to eradicate the drug menace and I am personally involved in the activities of the task force, he added.

Following is the full text of the speech made by President Maithripala Sirisena

I am pleased to address the gathering of international and local delegates of this special conference to mark 165th anniversary of IOGT International. This conference is looking at alcohol policy of the 21st Century, focusing on what is required to combat the alcohol problem altogether.

I have no doubt that Sri Lanka’s remarkable position as the first country in Asia, and the fourth in the world, to ratify the WHO FCTC, and other achievements in the field of prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, will inspire many present here. The establishment of the National Authority of Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) and enforcement of NATA Act are very significant.

I am proud to say that we have implemented 80% of pictorial warnings in all tobacco packs and very recently we increased the taxes on tobacco, as it is one of the most effective ways of discouraging initiation.

I recall working closely with ADIC as a young Opposition Member of Parliament in the 1980s. I faced many challenges when I proposed to implement the pictorial health warning on tobacco packs in Sri Lanka.

In my former office as Minister of Health, I understood the necessity for effective policies, laws and regulations to control the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs on society.

I have established a Presidential Task Force to eradicate the drug menace and I am personally involved in the activities of the task force.

According to my knowledge, today we have more than 80 participants from 22 countries participating in this conference.I am certain that this conference would initiate fruitful dialogue among all the delegates and contribute towards more effective and efficient alcohol prevention and policies.

I would like to conclude by congratulating IOGT International on their tremendous efforts and achievements in promoting a life for all human beings to be free from harm caused by alcohol and other drugs, and ACID for hosting this Conference.

 

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