About 38,000 people have been reported dead from the excessive use of alcohol and tobacco in Sri Lanka yearly, local media reports, quoting medical experts from the Sri Lanka Medical Association. According to statistics from the Sri Lanka Medical Association on Tuesday, an estimated 18,000 people died from the use of tobacco and an estimated 20,000 from the use of alcohol in the island country.
Head of the Sri Lanka Medical Association, Anula Wijesundara, told the local Daily News that a person addicted to alcohol in Sri Lanka consumed at least an average of 3.5 litres of alcohol on a daily basis. He noted that over 200 billion rupees (or 1.1 billion U.S. dollars) is spent annually to treat those addicted to alcohol and tobacco. The Sri Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, recently blamed the use of tobacco and alcohol for the increasing poverty level and deterioration of health among the poor in the country.
Sirisena said that the low-income groups were spending 35 per cent of their earnings on tobacco and alcohol. He however reiterated government’s commitment to ban the cultivation of tobacco in the country by the year 2020.