Last updated: February 11, 2024
Sri Lanka became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.
Smoke Free Places
Smoking is prohibited in many indoor public places and workplaces and on public transport. However, smoking is permitted in smoking areas or spaces in airports, hotels having 30 rooms or more, and restaurants having a seating capacity of a minimum of 30 persons.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
Advertising through most forms of mass media is prohibited. The law, however, allows point of sale product display. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
Smoked tobacco product packages are required to have pictorial and text health warnings that cover 80 percent of the top front and back of packages and rotate every six months. Misleading packaging and labeling, including terms such as “light” and “low,” is prohibited, but it is unclear if the prohibition also includes trademarks and figurative and other signs. It is prohibited to manufacture, import, or sell smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes containing tobacco, and cigarettes that are flavored, colored, or sweetened.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law regulates specified contents of cigarettes, including banning sugars and sweeteners; menthol, mint, and spearmint; spices and herbs; and other flavors not previously specified. The law does not require that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities information on the contents and emissions of their products.
The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products via vending machine and in educational facilities and schools. The law also prohibits the sale of smokeless tobacco products. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 21.
The sale of e-cigarettes is prohibited. There are no restrictions on use or advertising, promotion and sponsorship of e-cigarettes.
Heated Tobacco Products
The manufacture, import, sale and offer for sale of heated tobacco products (HTPs) are prohibited. The existing restrictions on smoking in the law are not interpreted as applying to HTP use because regulators are interpreting HTPs as “smokeless tobacco products.” The law prohibits some forms of tobacco advertising and promotion of HTPs.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act, passed in 2006, is the law governing tobacco control in Sri Lanka. The comprehensive law includes measures relating to restrictions on smoking in public places; packaging and labeling requirements; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; establishment of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol; and offenses and penalties. The Act also authorizes the Minister of Health to issue regulations under the law. The Minister issued regulations regarding the content and display of the required health warnings in August 2012 and amendments to these regulations in November 2012, February 2013, and May 2014. Because of litigation brought by the tobacco industry, these regulations did not enter into force until January 1, 2015. The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (Amendment) Act was passed in March 2015 and increases the size of health warnings to 80 percent of the front and back of tobacco product packages. In 2016, the Minister issued regulations prohibiting the manufacture, importation, and sale of smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes containing tobacco, and cigarettes that are flavored, colored, or sweetened. The definition of “smokeless tobacco product” is considered by regulators to encompass HTPs.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.