Cambodia: City Hall orders tobacco companies to stop advertising

7 February 2020
Mom Kunthear

The City Hall has ordered all tobacco companies to cease advertising and displaying cigarettes in public because they violate the Law on Tobacco Control.

In a statement yesterday, City Hall said that displaying cigarette boxes is in direct violation of the law.

“The City hall noticed that some tobacco companies are promoting large-scale cigarette sales in an attempt to lure cigarette smokers to join a competition to win a prize,” it said.

It said all tobacco companies have to remove every advertising material related to cigarettes on public display, including ads on their websites and social media.

“The City Hall administration will cooperate with the Health Ministry and other relevant institutions to monitor tobacco companies which have violated the Law on Tobacco Control so legal action can be taken against them,” the statement said.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen has recently promised together with the World Health Organization in Asia-Pacific region, that Cambodia will be a smoke-free country by 2025,” it said.

The Law on Tobacco Control bans advertising of tobacco products on poster, billboard, banner, drawings and advertising of tobacco products on any type of vehicle.

Cambodia Movement for Health executive director Mom Kong yesterday lauded the City Hall’s move.

“I think it will be effective if both national and sub-national authorities collaborate together to issue warnings to the companies before the Ministry of Health begins to fine them,” Mr Kong said, noting that the Health Ministry has delayed fining tobacco companies which violated the Law on Tobacco Control five years since it came into effect in 2015.

“The number of people who die from smoking- related illnesses per day is higher than from those involved in traffic accidents, malaria and dengue fever,” Mr Kong said, noting that $620 million in national economy is lost every year.

The United Nations Development Programme and WHO said in their report in 2017, tobacco consumption was responsible for the deaths of approximately 15,000 Cambodia citizens, equivalent to 290 lives lost every week. Thirty-three percent of tobacco-related deaths in 2017 were from the lowest-earning income quintile of Cambodia’s population.

Khem Neary, 46, a grocery seller in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district, said yesterday that she will stop selling cigarettes if local authorities ask her to do so because she only makes a meagre earning from it.

Khmer Times