Alcohol experts and victims of excessive drinking came together yesterday to urge the government to speedily adopt a law controlling the consumption and sale of booze that was first drafted in 2008.
The plea was made at the launch of Young People and Alcohol, a World Health Organization report detailing the impact of the free availability of drink on youngsters.
More than 11 per cent of those aged between 8 and 17 consume alcohol, a figure which leapt to 82 per cent for those aged 18 to 32, according to executive director of the Cambodia Movement for Health Mom Kong. He added that 96 per cent of Cambodians favoured restrictions on the product.
Yel Daravuth, of the WHO, said that alcohol is the fifth-biggest cause of disease and fatal accidents in Cambodia, and seriously damages the development of youths who use it.
There are currently no restrictions on the sale or purchase of booze in Cambodia. Ministry of Education official Kim Sethany said the alcohol law had been forwarded to the Council of Ministers for approval before going to the National Assembly.
“Once the draft is officially passed into law, restrictions will come into place on advertising, distribution and the age of alcohol consumers,” she said, adding that the government planned to raise taxes on alcohol and tobacco in 2016.
Council spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday that he didn’t know when the body would approve the draft.