Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Experts back graphic warnings for smokers

Experts back graphic warnings for smokers

Cigarettes in identical olive-brown packets and largely covered with graphic health warnings
Cigarettes in identical olive-brown packets and largely covered with graphic health warnings, are displayed in a shop in Sydney 2012. AFP

Experts back graphic warnings for smokers

Health experts have thrown their weight behind a provision in the draft tobacco-control law that will require graphic health warnings to cover half the face of Cambodia’s cigarette packages.

“The warnings will encourage smokers to quit, because [they can see] the illnesses caused from smoking. It can help to protect children and young people from starting to use tobacco,” said Chea Chor Daphea, vice president of the National Center for Health Promotion, at a workshop yesterday on the impacts of tobacco organised by the Ministry of Health.

Daphea said that images are significantly more effective than text for providing public information about the hazards of smoking and are expected to help combat tobacco-related deaths, which kill 10,000 Cambodians annually. Worldwide, tobacco is projected to cause 8 million annual deaths by 2030.

“[The pictures] are very important, because it provides information to the people. If they cannot read, they can see: smoking causes lung cancer,” said Dr Yel Daravuth, technial officer for the World Health Organization’s Tobacco-Free Initiative.

According to article 10 of the law – first drafted in 2003 – the images must cover 50 per cent of the cigarette box. The WHO is calling on the government to enact the regulation with haste, Daravuth said.

“In other countries, tobacco manufacturers tried to prevent picture warnings, saying there isn’t clear evidence about the benefits of the picture and that they cause smuggling, but this citation is not accepted by WHO,” he said, explaining that visual messages create a mental cue and positively reinforce quitting.

According to the WHO, Cambodia is the only ASEAN country yet to pass smoking legislation. Currently, two million Cambodians smoke.

The law is expected to be discussed at the National Assembly in late April.



  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not