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

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and

  • Cambodia detects new Covid cases after 52 days: PM

    After 52 days of zero new Covid-19 cases, Cambodia has now detected new infections, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In his special audio address to the nation late on June 28, Hun Sen said the new cases were detected on people who had undergone PCR tests

  • Cotton club growing in Battambang

    The global market for “vegan leather” – materials that act as alternatives to traditional leather that can be synthesised from cork, apple peels, cactus, recycled plastic, grape pomace and pineapple leaves, among other things, and supposedly require no chemicals or water to produce – is expected to