Eight communes in Phnom Penh have launched a campaign to ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes and vapes, after taking note of their continued sale, according to the NGO Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH).

“The campaign aims to curb the distribution and sale of e-cigarettes by encouraging vendors to not only end their sale, but report any cases they become aware of to the authorities,” said the CMH.

The eight communes are Russey Keo district’s Tuol Sangke II, Sen Sok district’s Teuk Thla, Dangkor and Chroy Changvar, Chamkarmon district’s Tuol Tompoung I, Tuol Kork district’s Phsar Depot III and Boeung Salang and Por Sen Chey district’s Chaom Chao I.

CMH executive director Mom Kong told The Post on June 25 that even though products like vapes are prohibited by the government, they are still widely advertised and sold on social media like Facebook, TikTok and Telegram.

He said the participation of the communes followed workshops by his organisation which encouraged commune authorities to implement measures that would eliminate the distribution and sale of e-cigarettes and vapes in their areas.

“These products are banned, but they are still being marketed aggressively, especially online. This means more and more people are using them. We want to encourage stronger interventions, to stop people from dealing them,” he added.

It was Kong’s understanding that the products are still widely distributed and sold as a result of limited enforcement by the authorities.

In the last six months, the advertising and sales of vapes tripled compared to 2021, said the CMH, during a June 12 workshop at the Phnom Penh Municipal administration. This was despite a series of arrests, and the fact that several vendors have signed contracts stating they will no longer trade in these items, it noted.

“Ninety-nine per cent of e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is harmful to consumers’ health and can lead to addiction and serious heart and lung damage. In addition, their use among children and adolescents has a serious impact on brain development, leading to long-term consequences and possibly impairing memory and learning,” added the CMH.