Cambodia is among 11 countries named to the best-practice group in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) report on the global tobacco epidemic in 2021 that addresses new and emerging tobacco and nicotine products.
On July 27, the WHO issued its eighth report on the global tobacco epidemic. The report monitors the progress made by countries in tobacco control effort since 2008 and – for the first time – presents data on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as e-cigarettes or vapes.
The report indicates that many countries are making progress in combating tobacco use but some countries are not dealing with the emerging nicotine and tobacco products and are failing to regulate them.
The report said that due to the challenges of running national population-based surveys during the Covid-19 pandemic, many surveys planned in 2020 were postponed or cancelled and the results from some surveys conducted in 2019 were not released in time for this report.
“This situation led to 11 countries at best-practice level in 2018 being unable to maintain the achievement. Consequently, these 11 countries (Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Kuwait, Myanmar, Pakistan, Panama, Qatar), with 577 million people, have exceptionally been retained in the best-practice group in this report,” it said.
Cambodia is categorised as one of the countries with the highest level of achievement in the fight against tobacco and one of the countries with the sale of ENDS banned, said the report.
Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine could not be reached for comment on August 2.
Cambodia joined the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005.
Mom Kong, executive director of the NGO Cambodian Movement for Health, told The Post on August 2 that a country joining the convention had to commit to following the measures stipulated in it and in 2015 Cambodia adopted a law on tobacco product control.
Kong said the law was recognised as comprehensive by international experts because it is in accordance with the convention.
“Cambodia has followed the law and has made good progress on the tobacco product fight,” he said.
The convention, he said, required state members to increase tobacco product taxes.
Kong said tax increases are the single most effective measure to reduce illness, death and disability from tobacco products, while generating more tax revenues for the government – a win-win strategy.
He said the WHO recommended that each member increase its tax rate on tobacco products to 70 per cent of the retail price, but some ASEAN countries have not been able to meet this goal.
Kong said Cambodia’s tax rate on tobacco products is low compared to other ASEAN countries. Cambodia sets taxes at only 25 per cent of retail price for domestic made cigarettes and 31 per cent of retail price for imported cigarettes, as compared Thailand and Singapore who each have a 70 per cent of retail price tax rate.
“Increasing the tobacco product tax rate is more important during the Covid-19 pandemic fight when the government requires more money to combat the virus,” he said.