Photo by: Sovan Philong
Phun An, 65, smokes a cigarette next to her grandson at their home in Phnom Penh.
Sunday, 13 February 2011 19:44 Chhay Channyda
Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Council of Ministers on Friday approved a draft sub-decree prohibiting the advertisement of tobacco products.
Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said the sub-decree prohibits the advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products via media, billboards and live events, adding that businesses will be given a six-month grace period to pull their ads once the sub-decree is formally adopted.
This decision is in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, ratified by Cambodia in November 2005. Signatories to this treaty agree to prohibit the advertisement, promotion and sponsoring of tobacco companies within five years from the date of signing.
The sub-decree aims to restrict ads attracting people to tobacco products to reduce tobacco’s impact on the environment, public health and the economy, according to Friday’s announcement from the Council of Ministers.
Yel Daravuth, tobacco health adviser at the WHO, characterised the sub-decree’s approval as important for prevention and public health.
“These measures will help to prevent children from using tobacco products and encourage current smokers to reduce their use.”
A 2002 survey conducted by WHO and the World Bank found that in countries where advertising is banned, the rate of smokers can be reduced by as much as seven to eight percent over 10 years, while countries that allowed tobacco advertisements saw a reduction of only 1 percent in the same period.
Kun Lim, head of corporate and regulatory affairs at British American Tobacco Cambodia, said the law seems sensible and practical.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JEREMY MULLINS