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Encouraging ‘Last Mile Smokers’ to quit



New IPS publication –

• IPS study highlights need for community-based behavioural interventions to encourage ‘Last Mile Smokers’ to quit.

• Targetted interventions will be more fruitful, cost-effective and sustainable.

Sri Lanka has made important strides in reducing the overall smoking prevalence rate over time. However, if smoking prevalence is to decrease further, targetted measures are needed to reduce the prevalence rate among the ‘Last Mile Smokers’, according to the latest IPS Publication “Tobacco Smoking Cessation: Lessons and Policy Options for Sri Lanka”.

The Last Mile Smokers refers to the groups in which the smoking prevalence rates are higher than the overall smoking prevalence rate in the country. Last Mile Smokers are, in general, less responsive to system-wide measures such as smoking and advertising bans as well as health awareness campaigns. Penetrating these hard-to-reach groups is important and should be considered as a priority area to slash smoking prevalence in Sri Lanka.

Targetted smoking cessation policies and programmes play a vital role in supporting Last Mile Smokers to quit smoking effectively. Further, using evidence-based cessation programmes significantly increase the likelihood of successfully quitting the smoking habit.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) notes, in Sri Lanka, 51.8% of the current smokers have attempted to quit smoking, while 35% of users have been advised to quit tobacco usage by healthcare providers.1

Smoking cessation interventions take different approaches and their effectiveness also vary. Different approaches in cessation should be used in different settings – and in combination with one another to improve effectiveness. Some cessation approaches are suitable only for specified contexts.

Behavioural approaches have a significant influence on smoking cessation interventions and policies because tobacco smoking is an acquired behaviour. These behavioural approaches in cessation, boost or support motivation to resist the urge to smoke and develop smokers’ capacity to stick to their resolutions. Furthermore, behavioural methods can work primarily with individuals, or with groups or communities.

The IPS study also confirms that more attention needs to be given to protect the rural, low-income and estate sector smokers who are more vulnerable and susceptible to tobacco industry campaigns.

The study makes the following recommendations:

• Give priority to the Last Mile Smokers and their socio-demographic backgrounds when preparing the national framework for cessation support so that, cessation programmes can be tailor-made to best suit the Last Mile Smokers.

• Focus more on introducing and implementing targeted behavioural cessation interventions, and community-based interventions in particular.

• Widen/expand prevailing community-based cessation interventions such as ‘Tobacco-free Zones’ which are identified to be beneficial in reaching a wider audience at a relatively lower cost and a shorter period of time.

• Implement continuous follow-ups on smokers even after they quit to ensure there is no relapse.

• Combine tobacco smoking cessation interventions with other tobacco controlling policy interventions such as increasing tobacco taxes, and banning the sale of single stick cigarettes.

The report is authored by Sunimalee Madurawala and Chathurga Karunanayake.

Access the full report here:

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HNB joins CBSL to promote ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign in Kandy



HNB PLC once again joined the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to promote the ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign to raise awareness and encourage the public in the Kandy district towards a cashless payment ecosystem.

HNB, together with other financial institutions and telecommunication partners, participated in the day-long event held at the Kandy City Center. The bank raised awareness regarding its LANKAQR integrated HNB SOLO payment app while onboarding merchants during the promotional campaign.

“During the early stages of the pandemic we witnessed many of our customers and members of the public seamlessly adopt our cashless and contactless payment app HNB SOLO. With COVID and the subsequent launch of the ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign the number of users of these types of systems have increased exponentially.

“Given that the mutual vision of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and HNB is for a financially and technologically empowered Sri Lanka, HNB is proud to serve as an enthusiastic partner to roll out LANKAQR island-wide. The fact that we now have merchants in the cultural capital of Sri Lanka making this shift is another major milestone in this digitalization journey,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne said.


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ComBank’s ATM network sets new records for cash dispensed during festive season



The automated teller machine (ATM) network of Commercial Bank of Ceylon dispensed a record Rs 8.818 billion on 9th and 10th April 2021, shattering the previous records for the highest and second highest cash disbursements for a 24-hour period, as Sri Lanka’s leading private bank facilitated the celebration of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

The disbursements of Rs 4.498 billion on April 9 and Rs 4.320 billion on the following day represented a substantial increase over the single-day values recorded in previous years.

In total, Commercial Bank dispensed Rs 41.748 billion via its ATM network between 1st and 15th April 2021 at an average of Rs 2.783 billion per day, reaffirming the indispensable role it plays in the lives of Sri Lankans, as well as the reliability and robustness of the network. On seven of these 15 days the network dispensed more than Rs 2 billion a day, and on five days disbursements exceeded Rs 3 billion a day, the Bank said.

Comprising of 890 ATMs, the network processed 2.434 million transactions over the 15 days at an average of 168,988 transactions a day, while on 9th April, the number of transactions processed totalled 233,990 at an average of 9,749 transactions per hour or 162 transactions per minute.

The first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 10 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches in Sri Lanka. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.

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‘Ceylinco VIP Cyber Tharu’ to showcase Sri Lankan talent



Ceylinco General Insurance has announced an online competition with a novel concept to showcase Sri Lankan talent by providing a platform for them with the opportunity to win handsome cash prizes.

“This time, our effort is to organize an online competition that provides an opportunity for Sri Lankan people to display their talent and also to identify hidden talents whilst rewarding them. There will be five overall winners whose prize money will be over Rs. 1 million and each category winner will get Rs 100,000/-. Ten randomly picked voters too will receive handsome cash awards,” said Patrick Alwis, chairman CEO of Ceylinco General Insurance.

The guidelines and the criteria of the competition were announced recently through a dedicated website and other social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, twitter, You Tube as well as LinkedIn. Contestants can perform under five categories, namely, singing, dancing, instrumental performances, fashion modelling and funny videos / Standup comedy. Individuals over 18 years could perform under the individual category whilst the group category will have no age limit.

Under the group category either families or a group of friends could take part. Each entry will have to be specially recorded for this competition. Prior to recording the performance, they should download the image of the logo and have it displayed prominently in the background. Performances could be recorded using a smart phone or a video cam.


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