The Association of Tobacco Industry of Cambodia announced on Saturday that new cigarette packaging, including graphic images and warning text, was ready – as required by the government as of July 23 – but may not hit the market for a few months as businesses get rid of old stock.
According to a law adopted on October 22, 2015, and clarified by the Ministry of Health on February 15, graphic photos need to cover 50 per cent of the cigarette packets, and a written message in Khmer must cover another 5 per cent.
Fines are 4 million riel (about $1,000) for noncomplying tobacco companies; 2 million riel for distributors and wholesalers; and 10,000 riel for retailers.
Mom Kong, executive director of the Cambodia Movement for Health, said the cigarette companies should roll out the new packaging immediately.
“The government gave the companies nine months to prepare. That is a very long time, and I don’t think the companies need to take any more time,” Kong said.
“In Laos, the government gave companies four months, other countries had six or seven. So nine months for Cambodia is enough for companies to sell their products with the new warnings.”
“I will see if there are no new warning packages on the market by the end of July,” Kong said. “We will be a watchdog on the market and monitor how the companies obey, for Cambodians’ health.”