Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tobacco law passed

Tobacco law passed

Tobacco law passed

The National Assembly yesterday unanimously passed a draft law on tobacco control intended to combat the annual $100 million smoking habit that kills 30 people every day.

According to a statement issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen in December and read out during yesterday’s session, the law contains 13 chapters and 49 articles intended to “educate and reduce tobacco use”.

The prime minister highlighted how 75 per cent of women and 80 per cent of children are affected by smoke at home, while 90 per cent of restaurant- and bar-goers are exposed, and half of people are affected in their workplaces.

Hun Sen said, on average, an individual cancer patient costs the government $10,000 per year, and the cost of treatment to the country is significantly higher than the $100 million spent by Cambodians on tobacco products.

Cambodia is a signatory to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which imposes regulations over the production, sale, distribution, advertisement and taxation of tobacco.

Among its stipulations is a commitment to protect people from secondhand smoke, an increase in taxes to discourage smoking, the restriction of tobacco sales to minors, the combating of illicit tobacco and the inclusion of large health warnings on all cigarette packaging.

Dr Yel Daravuth, who works with the WHO Cambodia office and has assisted in the drafting process of the law since the convention was signed in 2003, said once the law passes the Senate and is signed off by King Norodom Sihamoni, graphic visual warnings of the damaging health consequences of smoking will take up 55 per cent of cigarette packets – a significant proportion more than the 30 per cent stipulated by the convention.

“If there is a warning picture on cigarette packets, it’s more effective at educating people in rural areas. Most rural area people cannot read written warning messages,” he said.

Daravuth said the law was supported by 90 per cent of Cambodians.

The government has also said it will begin subsidising farmers who stop growing tobacco in favour of other crops.

Tobacco kills more than 6 million people around the world annually. In Cambodia, about 11,000 people die each year from tobacco-related diseases.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk

  • US slammed over BGU head as Foreign Ministry says sanctions violate international principles

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) has condemned the US Department of Treasury for its sanctions, announced on Tuesday, against Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang for his alleged role in infringing human rights. In a statement, the ministry said it is disturbing