The Ministry of Health is to run an education campaign – possibly including warnings on cigarette packets – before starting to enforce new laws that restrict smoking in public areas.
Ministry officials and NGO representatives met yesterday to discuss how best to deliver anti-smoking messages and information about the new laws to the public, though no specific measures were decided upon.
“We need to educate the public not to smoke in public . . . and change attitudes about smoking,” said Chhea Chor Daphea, president of the ministry’s National Center for Health Promotion.
“The Ministry of Health will have more meetings to discuss the implementation plan and promotion to the public.”
The Council of Ministers on Friday approved a sub-decree restricting smoking or tobacco usage in public places and putting in place fines for offending individuals and businesses.
The penalty for individuals found violating the ban will be a 20,000 riel ($5) fine, while establishments will face a 50,000 riel ($12.50) fine if they fail to put up no smoking signs or are caught providing ashtrays to customers.
The sub-decree also flagged possible educational initiatives including warning images and messages on cigarette packets
Dr Yel Daravuth, the World Health Organization Cambodia technical officer in charge of the Tobacco Free Initiative who consulted on the sub-decree, said the enforcement of the new laws would likely begin in six months.
It’s not yet known where money collected from the fines will go and how many health inspectors will ensure compliance.