Sunday, April 25, 2010

Government To Reduce Tobacco Users in Cambodia


The Royal Government of Cambodia is now working hard to prevent and reduce the use of tobacco, and also to promote the people’s healthcare, progress and the prosperity in Cambodia.

Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health, said that the serious impact affected by the tobacco use is now requiring the world to work hard and join hard in reducing the epidemic of the tobacco use in order to promote the public health and poverty reduction in accordance with the Royal Government’s policies.

In order to raise awareness about tobacco use as well as to promote people’s healthcare in Cambodia, the Royal government is in collaboration with the inter-ministries and involved NGOs have been working hard to educate people and to raise awareness on the danger and impact of the tobacco use the people in Cambodia, he said.

The Minister stated that the government has also issued a sub-decree on “Publishing of Health Warning Message on cigarette package” in Cambodia which was singed by Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen 20 October 2009.

“The Ministry of Health which is the responsible institute on the health issue of people under the wise leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen has been paying the most attention in promoting the peoples’ health towards the reduction of poverty, the rate of diseases and mortality affected by the impact of the use of the tobacco in Cambodia,” he said during his opening remarks at the 13th Inter-Ministerial Committee for Education and Reduction Tobacco Use on April 22 in Phnom Penh.

The government has created the inter-ministerial committee for education and reduction tobacco use in Cambodia which is the highest structure in providing the supports both political and technical assistance for the tobacco combating and prevention program in Cambodia.

The Minister said that since the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Education and Reduction Tobacco Use in Cambodia, the committee has made many achievements including the adoption of the National Strategic Plan on Tobacco Control, the Convention on Tobacco Control of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Draft Law on Tobacco Control, and sub-decree on “Publishing of Health Warning Message on cigarette package” in Cambodia. He added that the government has also prohibited the advertising of cigarettes via the media such televisions, newspapers and radios. It will consider increasing the tax on tobacco or cigarettes in the future.

Dr. Pieter JM Van Maaren, Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Cambodia, said that tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death and more than five million people died from the effects of tobacco every year in the world. He said that unless urgent action is taken, there will be more eight millions deaths every year in the world by 2030. More than 80 percent death will occur in developing countries. One third of the world smokers reside in the WHO Western Pacific Region and two people died from tobacco-related diseases every minute in this region.

The Western Pacific Region has also the highest rates of male smoking prevalence and fastest increase of tobacco uptake by women and young people, he said, adding that tobacco use remains as one of the biggest public health threat to the well being and prosperity in this region.

Relating to the Cambodia’s context, Dr. Pieter JM Van Maaren said that Cambodia has been identified as having one of the highest rates of cigarette smoking in the Southeast Asia with recent estimates indicating that 48 percent of men and 3.6 percent of women over the age of 18 currently smoke either commercial or hand-rolled cigarettes and that 17 percent of women and 1 percent of men chewed the tobacco.

He added that tobacco also affected household economy in Cambodia and the total annual tobacco spending by all smoking household in Cambodia is evaluated to US$ 70 millions per year in Cambodia.

Mark Sqwisow, Executive Director of ADRA, said that tobacco use has been impacting both people’s health and economies in Cambodia. He stated that to reduce the tobacco use in Cambodia, the government should immediately adopt the Tobacco Control Law as soon as possible by taking strict actions and measures against it.

He added that the government should also ban cigarette’s advertising; increase tobacco tax and prize measures; create smoke free environment; and raise public awareness and health warnings on tobacco products in Cambodia.

According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2005, smoking prevalence among youth aged between 13 and 15 showed that: 11.4 percent of boys and 3.2 percent of girls use some form of tobacco. Current smokers were 7.9 percent for boys and 1.0 percent girls; 15 percent were offered free cigarettes by a tobacco company representative in the last month; 50 percent has one or more parents who smoke; and 12 percent of never smokers are likely to initiate smoking next year. ////

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