Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cigarette warning compliance ‘low’




Cigarette warning compliance ‘low’

Packets of cigarettes displaying graphic health warnings sit on a table at the JTI International Tobacco office in Phnom Penh in July.
Packets of cigarettes displaying graphic health warnings sit on a table at the JTI International Tobacco office in Phnom Penh in July. Heng Chivoan

Cigarette warning compliance ‘low’

A little over two months after a sub-decree went into effect requiring graphic warnings on all cigarette packages, an official at the Ministry of Health has admitted compliance remains low and warned that fines are in the offing for tobacco companies that continue to ignore the new regulations.

Under the new rules, graphic photos must cover 50 percent of cigarette packets, and a written message in Khmer must cover another 5 percent. Those failing to follow the law are subject to fines of about $1,000 for tobacco companies, $500 for distributors and wholesalers, and $2.50 for retailers.

Ing Phirun, sectretary of state at the Ministry of Health, in a letter dated October 4, said that a ministry committee recognised that since the implementation of the sub-decree on July 22, compliance remains low.

“We found that all tobacco companies do not yet respect the rules,” he wrote. “This is a first warning . . . if there’s still failure to comply, the committee will take legal action.”

Phirum and ministry spokesman Ly Sovann couldn’t be reached for comment.

A group of students at the Royal University of Law and Economics surveyed 99 retailers in Phnom Penh and found a majority of them weren’t complying with the law. “We found a massive [amount of] noncompliant products that didn’t carry the printed pictorial health warning,” professor Kiri Khim wrote in his report, which was obtained on Friday.

Ratana Um, spokesman for British-American Tobacco (Cambodia) Ltd, which controls about 40.3 percent of the market, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Kitty Oct, with Japan Tobacco International, initially said she would be available for comment, but her phone was later turned off. JTI in July ended its affiliation with the Association of Tobacco Industry of Cambodia due to the association’s failure to ensure compliance with the law.

MOST VIEWED

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • Vietnamese land-grabbers held

    Following a provincial court order, Ratanakkiri Military Police on April 16 arrested 12 Vietnamese nationals accused of crossing the border into Cambodia and illegally clearing forest land. The accused are now being detained at Phnom Svay prison in the province. Ratanakkiri military police commander Thav Yen told