Monday, August 3, 2009

Cambodian Concerns Tobacco Impact

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Dr. Mom Kong, Executive Director of the Cambodia Movement for Health, said that tobacco is still a strong concern for the Cambodian people as many people now have been using tobacco products every day.

Dr. Kong said that besides affecting the peoples’ health, tobacco has been affecting the Cambodian economy especially for those who are addicted and feel they must use tobacco products every day.

“I noted that so far, although the tobacco users or cigarette smokers seemed to be decreasing, tobacco is still a danger for the people of Cambodia. Tobacco has been affecting both peoples’ health and their economy,” he said at a press conference on August 1.

The Executive Director said that according to a survey conducted by his organization, Cambodian people are spending approximately US$ 70 million per year on tobacco products in Cambodia. This amount of money does not included medical check-ups or other treatments that they [smokers or tobacco users] must receive due to smoking.

To reduce the tobacco use in Cambodia, Dr. Kong said his organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and other concerned Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been working very hard to educate Cambodian peoples’ on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and downfalls to using tobacco products health.

He continued to say that recently, his organization has conducted a research survey on the planting of tobacco, tobacco products and its impacts on farmers in Cambodia after the Tobacco Control Convention was ratified by Cambodian government in 2005.

The Tobacco Control Convention has not had any affected on the farmers’ tobacco plantations or their tobacco businesses in Cambodia, he said, adding that about 40 percent of Cambodian farmers used to plant tobacco, but have now abandoned the planting of tobacco and changed to cultivate various subsidiary crops as tobacco’s price lowers and there is a shortage of market in Cambodia.

Dr. Veng Sokly, Program Officer of the Health Promotion Department in the Ministry of Health (MoH), said that to prevent and control the tobacco in Cambodia, the Cambodian government has ratified the Tobacco Control Convention in 2005.

The Program Officer Sokly said the Ministry of Health now is also preparing a sub-degree to control the tobacco industry or tobacco companies by limiting their tobacco products advertising in Cambodia.

He emphasized that so far the Ministry of Health has been working hard in promoting and increasing public awareness of the serious health risks of tobacco use, by motivate smokers to reduce or quit using the tobacco, and banning all kinds of tobacco advertisements through radio, newspapers, magazines, and banners in all cities and provinces across the nation.

Dr. Yel Daravuth, National Professional Officer at the World Health Organization, said tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the world which is responsible for 5.4 million deaths each year worldwide, about 80 percent of the deaths happening in the developing countries. He added that the use of cigarettes also can caused many diseases including swollen lungs or lung cancer, mouth cancer, tongue cancer, heart attacks, high blood pressure and so on.

According to a report of the National Statistic Institution in the Ministry of Planning, there are about two million Cambodians that are using tobacco products, 48 percent being male over the age of 18, 3.6 percent being female, 17 percent being woman who use tobacco to put in the mouth, and one percent being males who use a tobacco to put in the mouth. ///





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