• June 15, 2024

Itching to fine smokers

 Itching to fine smokers

Cambodia is among the highest achieving countries in the Western Pacific Region in respect of having in place laws to protect people from tobacco smoke, according to a story in The Phnom Penh Post citing the World Health Organization (WHO) Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic.

Where the country falls down is in respect of enforcing those laws. The Post’s story quoted an official at the National Centre for Health Promotion (NCHP) as saying that no fines had been issued for violations of tobacco regulations.

Mom Kong, executive director of the Cambodia Movement for Health, said the government had been gradually implementing provisions of the 2015 Law on Tobacco Control and a 2016 sub-decree prohibiting smoking in public places.

But he said it was time to move beyond dissemination and education and into enforcement.

“I think it’s time for the government to take another step,” he said. “Everyone wants to see the violators get fined.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Yel Daravuth, who heads the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative in Cambodia, said compliance with regulations governing graphic health warnings on cigarette packs had reached 70 percent, not 100 percent.

“We want to see the fines take place soon so [the regulations] can be more effective,” he said.

Ray Rany, head of the tobacco and health office at the NCHP, acknowledged that no fines had yet been issued.

“I can’t tell exactly when the fining will take place,” she said. “But it could be soon.”