Gov’t Has Not Ratified World Tobacco Treaty

Cambodia has not responded to the UN call to ratify an international treaty aimed at severely curtailing tobacco consumption and ad­ver­tising worldwide, a World Health Organization officer said Wednesday.

If ratified by the 40 nations that have so far signed on, the Frame­work Convention for Tobacco Con­trol will require adherents to raise tobacco taxes, print warnings on tobacco packaging, ban advertising and promotion for tobacco products and ban smoking in public places, a UN statement said.

Greg Hallen, technical officer for tobacco control at the agen­cy’s Cam­­bodia office, said the Min­istry of Health has not issued a statement on the convention treaty. He said, though, he ex­pected Cam­bodia to ratify it, since the government’s interministerial committee approved the convention before it was sent to the Health Ministry.

In recent years, Hallen said, Cam­bodia has made progress toward curbing smoking. Even several years ago, he said, distributing cigarettes was routine at bus­i­ness meetings. He commended Phnom Penh Interna­tion­al Airport for being largely smoke-free.

Still he said there was a “long way to go” before public smoking bans gain acceptance in Cam­bo­dia. One incentive for enforcing its rules would be increased government revenue from tobacco taxes.

Hallen said signing the treaty was a way for Cambodia to show its progress as a forward-looking nation, like Thailand, which has made “world-leading progress” in reducing tobacco use.

In a letter, John Nelson, general manager of British American To­bac­co Cambodia, said his company is already in compliance with sev­eral convention requirements, including placing warning labels on packages and ending television advertisements and billboards.

Since its June 16 inception, the treaty has been signed by 40 na­tions. Only Norway has ratified it, however, Hallen said.

According to the UN statement, almost 60 percent of Cam­bodian men smoke, one of the highest rates in the world.

Related Stories

Latest News