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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Shisha crackdown nationwide

Shisha pipes and other smoking paraphernalia that were seized by authorities
Shisha pipes and other smoking paraphernalia that were seized by authorities are gathered on a bench in Siem Reap on Tuesday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Shisha crackdown nationwide

Following a request by the Phnom Penh municipality on Tuesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered an “urgent” ban on the use and importation of flavoured tobacco product shisha, as well as smokeless e-cigarettes, leading to crackdowns and voluntary store closures nationwide.

After receiving on Tuesday an assessment from the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) maintaining that the products posed a risk to Cambodian youth, Hun Sen wrote on the same day: “Agreed, and please take urgent and firm action. Allow the NACD to lead and implement it.”

In his letter assessing the products, Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan, president of the NACD, also made recommendations on how to curb their use.

“The general public sees that shisha and e-cigarettes are drugs which get youths hooked and make them neglect their studies and work, and may lead to serious problems for the nation,” Kimyan said, before recommending “ceasing use by seizing and destroying the shisha and e-cigarettes, [implementing] banning measures and stopping imports”.

These recommendations, which the prime minister accepted, were sent from the NACD to provincial and municipal authorities nationwide, with the order to implement the measures with “high effect”.

That “high effect” played out on Tuesday night, as four shisha lounges in Siem Reap town were raided, with authorities seizing shisha and the water pipes used to smoke it, as well as apprehending 31 people who they “educated” on the dangers of the product and then released, police said.

Though the NACD itself confirmed that samples of shisha provided by the Phnom Penh municipality contained no illegal drugs – as the municipality initially suggested – NACD secretary-general Meas Virith said yesterday that “they contained nicotine, which could have more effect than [that found in] cigarettes”.

“Using shisha and e-cigarettes encourages people to use it [more], and leads to the use of drugs by illegally mixing them with shisha,” he added, noting that the ban only required businesses to stop selling shisha, not to close entirely.

According to Siem Reap provincial police chief Sort Dina, of the 31 people detained for education on Tuesday, five were carrying drugs.

Shisha lounges in the capital have denied having anything to do with drugs and have called the ban unfair. Even though the ban does not require lounges to close entirely, Lem Oudom, manager of The Sands shisha lounge in Phnom Penh, said yesterday that he would close for the time being after receiving a letter from authorities yesterday.

“We have closed our shop for a while, and are just cleaning it,” he said. “We are waiting for the boss to decide what we can change the shop into, but normally, apart from smoking shisha, our shop just serves beverages such as cocktails and other drinks.”



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We speak out's picture

Ban the Shisha. Ban the e-ciggarette.

But let's allow the following:

No prescription required for pharmacy drugs
No minimum age for drinking alcohol
Cheap cigarettes that contain much more harmful nasties
Motor vehicles that bellow smoke
Bad and dangerous driving
Passengers to ride on motorcycles without helmets
Parking on Monivong Boulevard at peak hour
Non biodegradable rubbish to be thrown on the floor
Etc etc......

Davebodia's picture

You should be American, you sound just like one? Traveling to foreign countries to complain; what a surprise.

Your complaint (yc)- No prescription required for pharmacy drugs.
Sensible answer (sa)- Why should their be? So the prices can sky-rocket like the U.S.? You are aware that even the most expensive pharma drugs on the market cost mere pennies to produce right? Here it's done properly. The U.S. is where it's backwards. Here: get sick, go pharmacy, get pills, get well... all for under $5 and finished in 1 day. U.S.: get sick, make appt., wait for appt. (could be days) while getting sicker and missing more work meaning more money lost, get to appt., see doc, he says "you're sick", pay $200 +, get prescription, go pharmacy, pay another $200, get well in 1 week. And they have it wrong here how?

yc- No minimum age for drinking alcohol.
sa- Why should their be? Setting a minimum age for drinking is nothing more than the govt. continuing to infest itself into our/your lives. The U.S. has suffered, and is getting even worse, due to "minimum age" laws. Absolutely nothing good or productive comes from them.

yc- Cheap cigarettes that contain much more harmful nasties.
sa- Once again, you continue on with your blind-faith belief that the govt. should run our lives.

yc- Motor vehicles that bellow smoke
sa- I agree, this one affects others'.

yc- Bad and dangerous driving
sa- I agree. I have a feeling, however, that we wouldn't agree on what constitutes "bad and dangerous driving".

yc- Passengers to ride on motorcycles without helmets
sa- I'm against making new laws, that said, a legit case could be made for the ordered use of a helmet by the passenger/s. I wouldn't have any substantial defense on this one aside from not liking the govt. to be our nannies.

yc- Parking on Monivong Boulevard at peak hour
sa- I don't even notice, I just drive around em' like I'm on an obstacle course. Driving in Phnom Penh is a blast.

yc- Non biodegradable rubbish to be thrown on the floor
sa- Run your business the way you want. If a business owner says it's ok to throw rubbish on his floor, then so be it, throw rubbish on his floor. He'll just sweep it outside to the street for trash pick-up anyway. Info: when you throw your plastic bottles in the bin, you're taking money away from the recyclers. Throw all your plastic containers on the ground if you care about the environment, and if giving poor people a source of income so they can survive is of any concern to you.

Cambodia doesn't need to be Americanized/Westernized; it needs to be Cambodia. Leave the country-destroying pc to yourself and your diminutive island.

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