Cambodian parliament passes law on tobacco control

The National Assembly of Cambodia on Wednesday unanimously adopted a draft law on tobacco control with an aim of minimizing tobacco impacts on people’s well- being and the economy.

All 89 lawmakers, who were present at the session, nodded the law, which states measures to control tobacco-made products in order to reduce impacts on health, economy, society and environment.

Opposition lawmaker Ke Sovannaroth, chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Commission on Health Care, said nearly 30 Cambodian people die from tobacco-related diseases every day.

“In addition, Cambodian smokers have spent nearly 100 million U. S. dollars a year for cigarettes and tobacco,” she said, adding that the expense on medical treatment for cancer patients caused by tobacco is much higher than that of tobacco expense.

She said a case of cancer treatment cost averagely 10,000 US dollars.

“The law will greatly contribute to reducing health risks that are caused by tobacco or cigarettes,” she said.

The law restricts imports, sales and distributions of tobacco- related products. According to opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, 50 percent of cigarettes circulating in Cambodia are imported.

Health Minister Mam Bunheng said farmers have grown tobacco crops on the land of 6,881 hectares nationwide.

“Under the law, the government will set up a fund to support farmers who quit growing tobacco for other crops,” he said.

The Southeast Asian nation has banned smoking in public and workplaces since February last year.

According to a National Adult Tobacco Survey 2011, some 1.4 million adult Cambodians smoke cigarettes and other 550,000 people use smokeless tobacco.

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