Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ban on public smoking approved

Ban on public smoking approved

A sub-decree has been approved banning smoking in some areas.
A sub-decree has been approved banning smoking in some areas. Pha Lina

Ban on public smoking approved

The Council of Ministers yesterday approved a sub-decree prohibiting smoking or tobacco usage in public places and put in place fines for offending individuals and businesses.

The sub-decree, which comes 11 months after the law on tobacco control was passed by the National Assembly, bans the consumption of tobacco products at the workplace and public areas, such as restaurants, hotels and public transport.

Individuals found violating this ban will face a fine of 20,000 riel ($5), whereas establishments will have to cough up 50,000 riel ($12.50) if they fail to put up no smoking signs or are caught providing customers with ashtrays.

Dr Yel Daravuth, who helped draft the tobacco law and is a technical officer at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Cambodia, said the ban specifically applies to enclosed places that can be accessed by the public and that smokers could continue to puff on their cigarettes on the streets.

The government, he said, will release another directive soon detailing the implementation of the ban, which would include health inspectors conducting random checks to ensure compliance.

He added that the onus would be on the owners of these establishments to inform their customers of the smoking ban, failing which they would be fined.

“You cannot expect all the health inspectors to go everywhere,” Daravuth said. “[The owners] have to co-operate with all the partners to enforce this.”

According to the latest WHO statistics, there are close to 2 million tobacco users in Cambodia, of which 1.5 million smoke cigarettes while the rest use chewing tobacco.

Ray Rany, head of tobacco and health office at the National Centre for Health Promotion, said the ministry will draft a prakas listing places the ban is applicable and will include schools and parks as well.

Howric Ghotbi, co-owner of popular night club Pontoon, yesterday welcomed the new directive and said it was only a matter of adjustment to get patrons to smoke outside the premises.

“Most foreigners are used to this when they go out in other countries,” he said. “So they will go out [to smoke] and then go back in.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the

  • Soaring global fuel prices: an opportunity for Cambodia?

    Cambodia is feeling the squeeze from the soaring global coal and oil prices. Electricity du Cambodge (EDC)would certainly be hurting from this reality, and most likely re-assessing its plans to add more coal power stations. EDC buys half of Cambodia’s electricity from plants

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when