For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
The National Alcohol and Tobacco Authority (NATA) yesterday warned film and drama producers to refrain from showing scenes of smoking and alcohol consumption.
NATA Chairman Prof. Carlo Fonseka told the Sunday Observer that most film and drama producers in the country do not pay attention this request and are still in the habit of showing smoking and drinking scenes in their productions.According to the National Tobacco Control Authority Act No. 27 of 2006, advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products and the portrayal of smoking or alcohol use in public (either directly or indirectly) are prohibited.
Prof. Fonseka also said a Sinhala film, currently being screened contains several scenes portrayed by the main actor where he smokes and drinks alcohol.He said these films are watched by adults as well as children and such scenes badly affect the future generation and called upon producers not to include such scenes in their productions in future for the sake of children in the country.
Prof. Fonseka also queried as to how such scenes were approved by the Censor Board which is a Government body.
He said such scenes will also give indirect publicity for cigarette manufacturing companies to improve their sales. In Sri Lanka over 20,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases annually. Youth are the main target of the tobacco industry.
He appealed to the youth to refrain from this dangerous habit.According to the National Cancer Institute, around 80 percent of cancers are caused by tobacco smoking, either directly or indirectly. The main cause of children being deprived of their fathers in Sri Lanka is tobacco.