September 15, 2010 - We reported that health experts on Thursday, April 1, 2010 warned that the government is in danger of missing an internationally mandated deadline to ban tobacco advertising. The deadline is mandated by Article 13 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which Cambodia is party, and must come into effect by February 2011, officials from the WHO and the NGO Cambodian Movement for Health said at a joint press conference. (Cambodia - may miss deadline to ban tobacco advertising..) Then on September 2, 2010 Health Minister Mam Bun Heng said a proposed sub-decree banning advertising and promotion of tobacco products was discussed during a meeting of the inter-ministerial committee for tobacco control yesterday, September 1st and would be sent to the Council of Ministers “soon”. (Cambodia - proposed ban on all tobacco advertising and promotion..)
Now we find that the Cambodia's government will soon ban tobacco advertising. That follows a law introduced in July requiring health warning labels on cigarette packs.
Anti-smoking activists say Cambodia's plan to ban tobacco advertising and promotion is a key milestone in efforts to cut the nation's smoking rate.
Dr. Yel Daravuth is the tobacco control expert at the World Health Organization's office in Phnom Penh says that developing countries can expect to cut their smoking prevalence by 8 percentage points over a decade if they implement an advertising ban.
In contrast, those that do not implement a ban see only a 1 percentage point drop.
British American Tobacco (BAT), is one of the biggest tobacco companies in the world, and dominates Cambodia's market with a 35 percent share. BAT says it backs advertising restrictions and that the new law broadly matches BAT's own policies. The company says it does not market to youth or use celebrities in ads, for instance. The company also does not sponsor events unless those taking part and watching are adults. But BAT's restrictions are not followed by all players in the Cambodian market.
Dr. Mom Kong heads the Cambodian Movement for Health, which wants restrictions on tobacco and alcohol use. He says some tobacco companies openly market to young people - something the new law will prevent. Mom Kong says that an advertising ban is one thing but enforcing the law could be trickier since it requires the coordination of local authorities, the police and the courts.
In July a law came into effect requiring every cigarette pack to carry a printed warning on the dangers of tobacco use, printed across 30 percent of the pack. BAT complied, but two months on a casual scan of the cigarette shelf shows that most of its competitors have not. But the government seems serious about this fight. Earlier this month the minister of health sent a letter to those companies warning them they risk losing their business licenses should they fail to comply. The WHO's Yel says that is encouraging. It gives him hope that the country's 2015 goal to cut smoking rates by 5 percentage points will be met.
For more information on tobacco use and control in Cambodia read the reference this news brief is based on.
Reference: New Cambodia Law Aims to Raise Awareness About Tobacco Dangers, Robert Carmichael Phnom Penh, VOAnews.com, 9/15/2010.
Cambodia - some related News Briefs:
Cambodia - proposed ban on all tobacco advertising and promotion..;
Cambodia - may miss deadline to ban tobacco advertising..;
Cambodia - agreement greater tobacco control measures needed..;
Cambodia - 2-day seminar, strategies for controlling tobacco use..;
SEATCA - Gates funding for research on improving tobacco control tax systems..;
Cambodia - text only cigarette warnings starting July 2010..;
Cambodia - now favors text only warnings on cigarette packs..;
Cambodia - graphic warnings soon to be on cigarette packs..;
Asean Countries - Tobacco Industry Blocking Global Treaty On Tobacco..;
- Cambodia is a member of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA)..