FCTC Article 16: Sales to and by Minors

From TobaccoUnmasked


Article 16 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recommends measures on restricting sale of tobacco products to minors. A minor is defined as a person under the age limit set by the domestic law, national law, or a person under 18 years.[1]

Guiding Principles

Globally, 942 million men and 175 million women aged 15 or older are current smokers.[2] In Sri Lanka 27.4% of male smokers are from the 15-24 year age category.[3] Scientific studies says that the average age when people first try smoking a cigarette is 14.5 years, and the average age when people become a daily smoker is 17.7 years. Therefore, reducing access to tobacco products for youths is essential in controlling tobacco.[4]


Restricting access to tobacco by bans on sales for minors is proven to lead to substantial reduction in tobacco use.[4]

Recommended Actions

FCTC Article 16 recommends countries to:[1]

  • Prohibit Sales of tobacco products to minors
  • Enforce a minimum legal age for sale/purchase of tobacco products
  • Demand the sellers to request for age verification
  • Ban of sale of tobacco in any directly accessible manner such as shelf display inside stores
  • Prohibit manufacture and sale of any objects (food, toys etc.) in the form of tobacco products
  • Prohibit vending machines for tobacco sales and restrict minors’ access to them
  • Prohibit distribution of free tobacco products to the public and especially to minors
  • Prohibit sale of cigarettes as single sticks or in small packs
  • Enforce penalties against sellers that do not comply with the respective laws
  • Prohibit sale of tobacco products by minors

Implementation - Sri Lanka

The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Act, No. 27 of 2006 prohibits:[5]

  • the sale of tobacco products to and by individuals less than 21 years
  • vending machines for tobacco products
  • free distribution of tobacco products

NATA Act also prescribes penalties to offenses related to aforementioned regulations as recommended in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). An amendment in 2019 would also prohibit sales of tobacco products within 100m from schools, restricting access to minors.

However, the cigarettes are still being sold as single sticks and number of sticks per a pack is not yet prescribed.

Image 1: Three boys in school uniforms and a young woman walking past an ‘’Abhisheka Shop’’. ‘’Abhisheka’’ is the trade loyalty programme of the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC), the British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary which holds the monopoly of cigarette manufacturing and sales in Sri Lanka

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:

The local language translations



  1. 1.0 1.1 World Health Organization WHO framework convention on tobacco control, 2005, Accessed January 2019
  2. J. Drope, W. Schluger, Z.Cahn, J. Drope, S. Hamill, F.Islami, A.Liber, N.Nargis and M. Stoklosa Prevalence The Tobacco Atlas Sixth Edition, Accessed February 2019
  3. Alcohol and Drug Information Centre Current tobacco usage by age Trend Survey on Tobacco, July, 2014, Accessed February 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 Barbara S. Lynch and Richard J. Bonnie Youth access to tobacco products Growing up Tobacco Free, 1994, Accessed January 2019
  5. Laws of Sri Lanka National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act, Accessed January 2019