Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry to run contest on dangers of tobacco

Ministry to run contest on dangers of tobacco

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The education ministry announced a public speaking contest on the effects of tobacco use on June 14. MoEYS

Ministry to run contest on dangers of tobacco

To prevent children and students from becoming tobacco users, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) – together with Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH) – has established various outreach and education forums, including a high-profile public speaking competition on the effects of tobacco.

In the June 14 competition announcement, the topic was shared as “Why should educational institutions not partner with tobacco companies?” Candidates must be aged between 15 and 30, and must not be employed in any capacity in the tobacco or alcohol industry. The deadline for applications is June 30.

The announcement said the winner will receive one million riel and a computer. Second place will earn 800,000 riel and a computer, with third place securing 600,000 riel and a mobile phone. The 4th and 5th placed speeches would land 400,000 riel each.

CMH executive director Mom Kong told The Post that now that the Covid-19 situation had improved in Cambodia, the education ministry and his organisation intended to attract as many students as possible to the competition.

“Tobacco companies try to ‘sponsor’ schools and universities, but the only reason they do it is to get exposure for their brand and their company name. They see students as nothing but future customers,” he said.

“Seeing this, the ministry has taken pre-emptive measures to prevent children from becoming customers of the tobacco company. About 15,000 people die each year from tobacco products,” he said.

He acknowledged that many other ministries and organisations had carried out activities that had reduced the number of smokers in the Kingdom, but said that the action needs to be constant, otherwise smoking rates – and deaths – will rise again.

Education ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said the purpose of the competition was to raise awareness of the harmful impact of partnerships between educational institutions and the tobacco industry.

“Disseminating the ministry’s ban on the use, advertising and selling of tobacco products – or cooperation with the tobacco industry – provides a great opportunity for young people to improve their ability to speak publicly,” he said.

The ministry introduced the ban in early 2021. It noted that most public and private institutions have observed the restrictions with no problem.

The ministry said there was a small number of institutions which confused tobacco sponsorship with support from generous people and allowed some prominent tobacco logos to be displayed.

The health ministry’s National Centre for Health Promotion released the results of a 2020 survey of almost 4,000 students, which showed 78.5 per cent of students saw other people’s smoking as harmful to them. Over 60 per cent of the students welcomed a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces.

Nearly half of the students thought smoking was difficult to give up once you had begun, although 1 in 5 students believed that smoking helped people to relax in social settings.


  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • Honda shutters Siem Reap football club

    Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda, the owner of Siem Reap football club Soltilo Angkor FC, has been forced to shut the club down, after it failed to attract sponsorship for the upcoming season. Honda, the former manager of the Cambodia men's national football team, said

  • Hun Sen warns of regional tensions

    ASIA is becoming a dangerous geopolitical hotspot, with several countries announcing that they intend to send naval vessels towards Southeast Asia and on to the South China Sea, warned Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Heated geopolitical issues can easily escalate, namely to war. I am not

  • PM declares ASEAN Para Games open

    The 12th ASEAN Para Games officially kicked off on the evening of June 3 at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring fireworks and performances by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished talents. Tens of thousands of sports fans