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

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in