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Restrict alcohol: study

A waitress pours a beer at a bar In Phnom Penh
A waitress pours a beer at a bar In Phnom Penh earlier this year. A new study by Cambodia Movement for Health has found that more than 95 per cent of people interviewed believed the government should implement restrictions on the use of alcohol. Vireak Mai

Restrict alcohol: study

Almost all of the more than 2,100 Cambodians interviewed for a study on alcohol consumption said they believe the government should take greater action in limiting alcohol use

In December, the Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH), asked people over the age of 18 in five different areas of the Kingdom – Phnom Penh, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap and Svay Rieng provinces – about their perceptions on varying health and societal issues surrounding drink.

CMH found 96.1 per cent of randomly selected interviewees said the government should place more restrictions on alcohol.

“Everyone agrees that nowadays the alcohol consumption among youth, among children, among young women is increasing,” CMH director Mom Kong said yesterday.

“What the government should do is issue a law that addresses alcohol advertising, minimum age of sale – and of use – and also place restrictions on alcohol outlets.”

Just above half of participants said that they had drank within the past year.

The survey also included questions regarding whether interviewees believed that alcohol contributed to different societal problems. More than 98 per cent said they think drinking contributes to financial problems and violence, and more than 99 per cent said it is a contributing factor to disease and traffic accidents.

Dr Sao Ratnak, who works on the World Health Organization Cambodia’s road safety programme yesterday said opinions are correct with regards to booze and traffic accidents. Of the 2,226 traffic fatalities recorded so far this year, 17 per cent were alcohol-related.

But with this year’s passage of a Traffic Law which places heftier penalties – including prison time in some cases – Ratnak said he is optimistic that road deaths will diminish.

“I hope this law, when it is properly implemented . . . will reduce traffic fatalities,” Ratnak said yesterday.

In addition, Kong said, the Ministry of Health is currently drafting a law on the regulation of alcohol in the Kingdom.

Health Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann yesterday said he is unfamiliar with the draft legislation, and referred questions to a ministry employee who could not be reached.

Chan Sokunthea, head of women and children’s rights for rights group Adhoc, yesterday said she agreed that alcohol should be better regulated in Cambodia, especially because it often contributes to domestic violence and rape.

“It’s very harmful for people who use the wine and the beer,” Sokunthea said. “It’s harmful for the health and the society.”

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