Political leaders urged to boycott tobacco company’s confab

National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Chairman Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksa appealed to Sri Lankan political leaders to avoid attending a major online Asian conference on post-COVID recovery titled the ‘26th International Conference of the Future of Asia’, which will be held next week sponsored by an international tobacco company.

The NATA Chairman said that it is contrary to section 5.3 of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Treaty, which suggests fulfilling international obligations. Sri Lanka is a party to the FCTC. He said that the tobacco industry often used such events to enter in the power corridors and establish contacts with decision-makers. It is a subtle strategy of the industry to obstruct tobacco control policy implementations.

At the 26th International Conference of the Future of Asia, it is planned to discuss how Asia can enter a new era during this time of uncertainty. The newly appointed CEO of this company will share the stage along with Asian region leaders.

"We need to understand well that the tobacco industry continuously tries to improve its image by holding corporate social responsibility activities and serving people. They also make efforts to enter into the power corridors to create personal contacts and networking to influence policy makers," Dr. Rajapaksa said.

He said that it is a prime duty as the focal point for tobacco control in the country to enlighten our leaders of the motive behind the tobacco industry and request Sri Lankan politicians and other prominent individuals to refrain from attending the event.


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