Kandal province health clinics's anti-smoking campaign aims to inspire people to kick the habit
Photo by: Vandy Rattana
A man enjoys his cigarette. Doctors from health clinics in Kandal province have been told to lead by example and stop smoking
SMOKING has been banned in all health facilities in the province of Kandal, the head government health official there said.
"It is our job to educate people about health problems, especially the impact of smoking. If we don't stop smoking [ourselves], how can we expect people to take our advice [seriously]?" said Ourm Thorn, head of Kandal's provincial Department of Health. He said that beginning this week, smoking will be prohibited in all 104 government health centres in Kandal.
"We have tried to do this for two years, but now it's finally starting," he said.
"We are going to put stickers in all the rooms saying that there will be no smoking. If we find our staff smoking, we will fine them 5,000 riels."
"Ninety percent of doctors in my health centres have stopped smoking. For the rest, if they want to smoke, they have to do it outside."
He said doctors should lead by example in helping their patients kick the habit.
Mom Kong, executive director of an alliance of nongovernmental organizations called the Cambodian Movement for Health, stressed the negative impacts of secondhand smoke on households.
According to his group's research, four out of five children in Cambodia live in a home with a smoker.
"People need a clean, smoke-free environment to live," he said.
He applauded the effort in Kandal, saying that health officials were best positioned to set a good example and blaming public advertising for making smoking appear "attractive".
He said the government is failing to discourage smoking by placing low taxes on tobacco products and not including severe health warnings on the packs.