Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tobacco costs 3% of GDP, 15,000 people die each year

Tobacco costs 3% of GDP, 15,000 people die each year

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A UN-led international team and RTI International have published a report on the socio-economic effects of tobacco on Thursday. Hong Menea

Tobacco costs 3% of GDP, 15,000 people die each year

A new study has found that the Cambodian economy loses approximately $663.5 million per year – equal to three per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) – as a result of tobacco use, while 15,000 people die every year from tobacco-related illnesses.

The study about the effects of tobacco on health and the economy – conducted by a UN-led international team and RTI International (formerly Research Triangle Institute) – was published on Thursday, after 12 months of research.

It said Cambodia needs to take additional measures, in addition to the existing laws, even though the number of smokers had decreased.

“Tobacco remains a primary risk to health, the economy and society, while some 290 Cambodian people lose their lives every week because of tobacco-related diseases. Most of them were from low-income families,” the study said.

Rodrigo Santos, a technical officer for the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), said after the report’s launching ceremony that the costs were due to healthcare expenditure and “hidden” productivity loss from premature death, disability and smoking breaks.

“This is the first study in Cambodia that is able to compare the Kingdom to other countries which have conducted similar research."

“The study shows that on average worldwide, other countries lose only 1.8 per cent [of GDP] due to tobacco use, while in Cambodia the loss is about three per cent. This means that the loss in Cambodia is almost twice as much compared to other countries,” he said.

Rodrigo said Cambodia had implemented a number of positive action plans by adopting new laws and measures which help reduce the numbers of smokers.

The next step is to enforce the existing laws and increase the tax on tobacco products, which, he said, would help reduce the number of smokers.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A UN-led international team and RTI International have published a report on the socio-economic effects of tobacco on Thursday. Hong Menea

A joint study is conducted across the country every five years by the National Institute of Statistics and the Ministry of Planning on tobacco use among adults.

It showed that tobacco consumption among people 18 years or older had decreased in the last 10 years. Among men, tobacco use had decreased from 48.98 per cent to 35.3 per cent, while the women’s use was down from 20.53 per cent to 11.6 per cent.

Ministry of Health secretary of state Oeurn Borarorth said the government would assess the new study and better implement tobacco control in Cambodia.

He said Cambodia had already introduced successful plans to prevent tobacco use and reduce its impact.

“At the same time, we have some difficulties in controlling tobacco products, such as not fully enforcing the law, low taxes on tobacco products and the lack of participation of relevant parties and the public."

“Therefore, we will increase our efforts regarding tobacco control so it becomes more effective,” Borarorth said.

Rodrigo said people should be aware of the health risks – such as heart-related disease, a range of cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes.

He said tobacco control measures could avert some $1.94 billion in health costs and economic losses and save 57,000 Cambodian lives in the next 15 years – or 3,815 lives annually.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,