Cambodia - graphic warnings soon to be on cigarette packs..

June 4, 2009 - Graphic health warnings about the dangers of cigarettes will soon be obligatory on every cigarette pack sold in Cambodia to ensure that the Kingdom meets its obligations under a World Health Organization treaty, government officials and local non-government organziations (NGOs) said Monday, June 1st.

Lim Thai Pheang, director of the National Centre for Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health, said an official decree was ready to be implemented, but needed to be officially approved by the minister of health.

Lim Thai Pheang: "The decree will decide on how the warnings will be placed on cigarette boxes, how much of the box the warning will take, where on the box the warning will go and what photos and words should be used, adding that he did not know when the decree would be finished.

According to a 2004 Tobacco survey by the National Institute of Statistics at the Ministry of Planning, 54 percent of Cambodian men 20 years and older smoke, compared with 6 percent of women 20 years and over.

Mom Kong, executive director of local NGO the Cambodian Movement for Health: "The health warnings on cigarette boxes are of great importance to remind smokers of all the different kinds of diseases that can be caused by smoking."

Placing warnings on cigarette boxes is required under the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Cambodia signed in November 2005.

WHO - the four recommendations in order for graphic warnings to be effective in deterring smoking: 1st, the warnings should show suffering, great pain or other ill-effects of smoking. 2nd, the warnings should be placed at the front or the back of cigarette boxes and not on the "unimportant" sides' and 3rd, the warnings should cover about 50 percent of the front or back of the box and 4th the warnings must be "active", meaning they should be updated at least every three years.
Indonesia is the only country in South-East Asia except Cambodia that has no bans on cigarette advertising. Cambodia has at least drafted legislation to enforce an ad ban.

Graphic warnings approved by Health Ministry..

Reference: Graphic warnings on cigarette packs ready to be implemented by Khoun Leakhana, The Phnom Penh Post, 6/2/2009.