Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tobacco warnings enforced



Tobacco warnings enforced

Tobacco warnings enforced

THE Health Ministry has ramped up efforts to enforce a new sub-decree making it mandatory for all cigarettes sold in the Kingdom to feature written health warnings, issuing letters to an undisclosed number of firms that were not yet in compliance, an official said yesterday.

Khun Sokrin, director of the ministry’s National Health Promotion Centre, said that “most, but not all” tobacco manufacturers and importers had fulfilled the terms of the sub-decree, which went into effect on July 20. Health Minister Mam Bunheng said at the end of last month that few firms were in compliance.

On Monday, the ministry sent out two letters – one thanking companies that were using the warnings, and another “urging” those that had missed the deadline to begin using them, Khun Sokrin said.

In addition, he said, the ministry earlier this month aired a statement on Cambodia Television Network urging companies that have not complied to do so immediately. Officials have been delivering the same message on radio programmes over the past 10 days, he said.

“The deadline has passed,” Khun Sokrin said.

The sub-decree outlines three steps for enforcement: issuing warning letters, temporarily suspending violators and, finally, permanently closing down firms that fail to comply.

Khun Sokrin said yesterday that he was not at liberty to disclose the number or names of firms that were not using the warnings.

However, Kun Lim, head of corporate affairs for British American Tobacco Cambodia, said this week that at least eight out of 14 major distributing companies were in violation of the sub-decree.

“Enforcement is weak,” Kun Lim said. “I’d just appeal to the Ministry of Health and governing law agency to please step up, because it’s been a long time.”

Officials said last month that cigarette packages were still appearing on shelves without warnings because stores were unloading stock that had been delivered before the sub-decree went into effect.

Kun Lim said at the time that it could take three or four months for all of the old stock to be sold off.

But Kun Lim said yesterday that some firms had yet to send new stock featuring the warnings to stores, citing reports from staffers sent out by BATC to observe incoming market and wholesale stock.

Representatives of several of the eight firms identified by Kun Lim said yesterday that they had already complied with the sub-decree or that they would do so soon.

“Right now, the manufacturer has not put warnings on the packages, but we are still planning,” said Hen Lim, the Cambodian distributor for Hong Kong International Tobacco, which manufactures brands such as Marce, Phnom Meas and Yellow Elephant.

Hen Lim said that HKIT “supports” the new law “because it is a right for residents to know risks”.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official at Go Well Tobacco International Pte Ltd – the distributor of the brands GD, Panda and Era White and Blue – said the company had already placed warnings on its stock.

The warnings are a component of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Cambodia ratified in 2005.

Last month, the Health Ministry announced a sweeping ban on all forms of tobacco advertising and promotion, which is also part of the effort to come into compliance with the convention.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • PM dispels lockdown rumours, gifts masks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on November 12 denied rumours that he will lock down the country in response to increased Covid-19 fears, referring to them as propaganda aimed at destabilising the country. In a Facebook post, he said some people had spread rumours that the government

  • SilkAir adds flight to Phnom Penh schedule

    Silkair (Singapore) Pte Ltd is increasing its flight frequency between Phnom Penh and Singapore with a third weekly flight on Saturdays, according to Cambodia Airports’ Facebook page. The other flights offered are on Tuesdays and Sundays, with an estimated Phnom Penh arrival time at 5:35pm