Friday, June 25, 2010

Women and Children Became Target of Tobacco Industry’s Marketing

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Many women and youths now are becoming the target of the marketing of tobacco industry in Cambodia. This is seriously impacting on the peoples’ health especially women and youths are the main resources in developing in Cambodia.

H.E. Im Sithay, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said that due to the progress and the development in Cambodia, much tobacco industrial companies have been established and selling their tobacco products for people in Cambodia.

The Secretary of Sate continued to say that to promote and advertise their tobacco product or cigarettes for Cambodian smokers, the tobacco companies have targeted the women and youths to be their marketing for cigarettes’ sales in Cambodia.

“I am very worried about our Cambodian women’s health as well as children and youths’. Although they do not smoke or use the tobacco directly they now are becoming the target of the tobacco industry’s marketing in this country,” she told a recent press conference in Phnom Penh.

Besides working as beer promoters many Cambodian women especially young girls are also employed as the cigarettes’ promoters or advertisers in order to sell the cigarettes at every restaurants or beer gardens in cities and provinces across the nation, she said.

She added that the promoting and advertising of the tobacco and cigarettes are not only attracting the buyers but also attracting the women and young people to try it and finally, they are addicted it in the future.

“To prevent peoples’ health from being affected by the use of tobacco and cigarettes in the future, I would like to appeal to all Cambodian women especially those women and youths who are working as the cigarettes’ advertisers and promoters across the country to stop longer working as cigarettes’ advertisers and choose other occupations to do so that they work to help the government in promoting and improving public health and our peoples’ healthcare in the future,” she said.

To provide new professional skills for those women or young girls who wanted to stop working as beer and cigarette’s promoters and advertisers, the Royal Government as well as the Ministry of Women’s Affairs will provide professional training such sewing, hairdressing , beauty, and other professional skills for them in the future, she said.

H.E. Toan Sa Im, Under Secretary of Stated of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS), said that currently, many tobacco and cigarette advertisements via television, radio and newspapers have been declined but many tobacco and cigarette banners now are still posting on almost every main streets and other places in cities and provinces.

Many concerts have been also performed to advertise about tobacco and cigarettes in every festival in Phnom Penh and other provinces in Cambodia, he said, adding that tobacco and cigarettes’ advertisers are also given prizes or cigarette free in charge for those who attended the concerts.

He emphasized that these activities have attracted people especially women and children to use the cigarettes and later they are addicted and become new smokers in Cambodia.

“I think that the current tobacco industry’s advertisements are easily to attract our women as well as children to use the cigarettes, and if we do not take any action and measure to stop it, our women, youths and children will become the victims of the tobacco or cigarettes’ influence in Cambodia in future,” he said. “Therefore, I would like to appeal to all concerned ministries, authorities and people to join work and continue to educate our people about the danger of cigarettes,” he added.

H.E. Toan Sa Im stated to be aware about the danger of tobacco and cigarettes for Cambodian children and students, so far the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports has included the danger of tobacco and cigarettes and its advertisements into school curriculums for teaching in primary schools and high schools.

“Ministry in collaboration with Ministry of Health and other related ministries and institutions have been also produced many posters, video spots and other learning materials for students and the public in Cambodia,” said Sa Im.

Chak Rany, Representative of the ADRA, said that the use of tobacco and cigarettes have impacted on the users both their health and their incomes. In order to prevent and reduce the use of tobacco and to improve the people’s health, the government should prohibit all kinds of tobacco and cigarettes’ advertisements in Cambodia.

She added that Cambodia has identified as having one of the highest rates of cigarette smokers 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.

Dr. Yel Daravuth, National Professional Officer 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 added that that unless urgent action is taken, there will be more 8 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.

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