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NGOs call for government ban on alcohol advertising

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Billboards advertising beer near the Monivong Bridge in Phnom Penh in May. Heng Chivoan

NGOs call for government ban on alcohol advertising

Two local NGOs called for a ban on all forms of advertising for alcoholic beverages, saying it was driving an increase in alcohol consumption in the Kingdom and leading to traffic accidents.

The call was made by the Cambodian Women for Peace and Development (CWPD) and Cambodian Movement for Health (CMH) at a workshop titled “The Impacts of Alcohol” organised on November 29 to discuss the challenges posed by alcohol consumption and find common solutions to them.

CWPD vice-president Chou Bun Eng stated that the purpose of the workshop was to share knowledge on the effects of alcohol use as it relates to Covid-19 infections and seek to restrict alcohol advertising which encourages and normalises frequent or heavy use of alcohol.

The workshop was also aimed at raising awareness and concerns about the effects of alcohol on society, especially pertaining to sexual abuse and human trafficking.

“The programme also aims to identify initiatives to propose priority national strategies for responding to the social impact of alcoholism,” she said.

CMH executive director Mom Kong said that through this programme, the members of the workshop decided to request that the relevant authorities take various measures including the measure to ban alcohol advertising. He said alcohol advertising is currently at an alarming level in Cambodian society.

“Advertisements with famous celebrities are very attractive to women, children and young people. It encourages them to use alcohol dangerously,” he said.

In May, Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang ordered his officials to immediately remove all billboards that advertised various alcohol products like beer and replaced them with ones that promote public health.

According to CMH, alcohol use can cause over 200 diseases, including digestive, neurological and reproductive maladies. Alcohol is also a major cause of traffic accidents and a risk factor for increasing all forms of violence.

According to research by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the frequency and severity of domestic violence increased proportionally with an increase in alcohol consumption by domestic partners.

Alcohol causes an estimated three million deaths each year worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.

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