Commerce Officials Requested To Restrict Tobacco Access

Health experts called on the government to restrict tobacco advertising, control access and sale of tobacco products to young people and raise taxes on tobacco-related products, which they said would cause 73,500 deaths here between 1997-2003.

The suggestions were made Wednesday as more than 100 Ministry of Commerce officials attended an awareness program organized by the Ad­ven­tist Development and Relief Agency.

Officials at the relief agency said tobacco product packaging should include warnings of the dangers of smoking and a list of toxic contents.

In November, opposition leader Sam Rainsy urged the government to increase the current 3 percent “sin” tax imposed on imported alcohol and cigarettes.

Var Khieng, general director of administration at the Commerce Ministry, did not say Wednesday whether the government would pursue restrictions on advertising and higher taxes, but Sok Sip­hanna, secretary of state at the ministry, has said both proposals were good ideas.

Dr Lim Thai Phieng, senior tobacco and alcohol control official at the Ministry of Health, said the awareness program is important for Commerce Ministry employees.

“Health is the main capital of investment for the development of the country,” he said.

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