Cigarette Packets Must Have Warning Labels Before July

Cigarette companies will be given until July to comply with a government order requiring them to put warning labels on all cigarette packets, said Dy Narong Rith, undersecretary for the Min­istry of Health.

“We have not met with the to­bacco companies, but they are definitely aware of it,” Dy Narong Rith said. “They are to comply with this decision. They can start now.”

Tobacco industry representatives met in Phnom Penh on Thurs­day to discuss the order, which originated with the Min­istry of Health.

Nigel Venning, chief accounting officer for British American To­bacco, said companies still are negotiating with the government over details on how to comply with the order. He said information on the expected agreement will be released next week.

The British-American Tobacco company produces most Cambo­dian brand-name cigarettes, none of which carry any health warnings.

Currently, only foreign cigarettes such as 555 and Marlboro carry warning labels, which are written only in English. As many as five brands of domestic cigarettes do not have warning labels.

The Japanese company Mild Seven also does not carry a warning label on its cigarettes.

The Council of Ministers ap­proved the order Dec 15. The Commerce and Industry, Energy and Mines and Foreign Affairs ministries all have recently been notified, said Sok Pun, the tobacco project manager at Ad­ventist Development and Relief Agency.

Heads of various tobacco companies would not comment on the cost of printing health warnings on packets, but expressed concern over the deadline.

“If they let us produce a sticker [to apply on the packets], we can make it,” said Sam Jicherng, coun­try manager of Japan To­bacco.

“If they want us to produce it for the packet, I don’t know if we can make it.”

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