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City Hall seeks ban compliance

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Drivers pass a billboard advertising cigarettes on Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh yesterday. A ban on such ads went into effect last month. Ten percent of Cambodians begin smoking between the ages of 10 and 14.

Phnom Penh City Hall last week issued an announcement urging tobacco companies and agencies to stop all public advertising of their products in line with a sub-decree banning such ads that went into effect last month.

The announcement advised companies and agencies engaged in distributing cigarettes and purchasing advertising space on vehicles “to urgently stop” all such advertisements as well as the placement of
banners, leaflets and stickers promoting tobacco products in public places.

Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a sub-decree containing six chapters and comprising 13 articles prohibiting cigarette advertising on February 24.

The ban covers advertising in media, on billboards and at public events.

Kun Lim, head of corporate and regulatory affairs at British American Tobacco, said the ban “does not seriously affect the tobacco industry because cigarette advertisements do not attract those who don’t smoke”.

However Mom Kong, executive director of Cambodia Movement for Health, said the ban was necessary “to prevent youths from smoking. The cigarette advertisements attract their attention to smoking as a way of being handsome or modern”.

Also last week, Hun Sen issued a letter in response to a request by opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yem Bunh Rith submitted to the National Assembly in December to ban alcohol ads on television and radio.

“The government has already looked into this matter and is considering settling the issue,” Hun Sen wrote in the letter.

He added that the government would continue to monitor whether such ads had a negative impact on the public.

“In the future, the government will consider a law to stop the advertisement of alcohol on television and radio.”
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