Health Warnings Set for More Cigarette Packets, Advertising Ban May Be on Horizon

Imported cigarette packets from now on will have Khmer language health

warnings after a government sub-decree deadline last month, manufacturers said.

Cigarette brands produced by international company Philip Morris,

including Marlboro and L&M, will have the new warnings in compliance with new regulation, Soo-Chuan Ong, manager of regulatory affairs at Philip Morris Asia Limited said.

“All Philip Morris products imported into Cambodia after 20 July 2010

feature the new Khmer health warnings, and these products will appear on the domestic market this month,” Mr Ong said in an e-mail, noting that it will take about five months for the current inventory without the warning to deplete.

Imperial Tobacco will also print Khmer health warnings on imported cigarette packages, such as Alain Delon and Fine branded ones, due to appear in the coming weeks, Simon Evans group press officer at Seita- Groupe Imperial Tobacco said by e-mail. Representatives of Japan Tobacco Inc, which manufactures Mild Seven and Winston cigarettes, said that it operates its business in compliance with all Cambodian

laws but declined to comment further.

Khmer language health warning have already started to appear on ARA cigarettes packets, produced by British American Tobacco, after a sub-decree deadline of July 20 for these to be printed on local and imported cigarettes packets.

Mr Sokrin, director of the Health Ministry’s National Center of Health Promotion, said that steps are being taken to ensure that health warnings are printed on cigarette packets. “We are implementing this sub-decree. You will see the press release to inform manufacturers about the deadline,” Mr Sokrin said, declining to comment further.

The new regulation meets the international World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which also requires a ban on tobacco advertising.

As party to the FCTC since 2005, Cambodia has until February to bring in some kind of legislation to ban the advertisement of tobacco, Dr Yul Daravuth, program officer for the Tobacco Free Initiative at the WHO, said. “I believe that by then we will have a sub-decree…. Our aim is not to push for health warnings on advertisement, but to put in place an advertising ban,” Dr Daravuth said.

Currently there is no tobacco advertisement on television, a small amount on the radio but a lot on posters, billboards, at points of sale and in newspapers, Mark Schwisow, country director of Adventist Development and Relief Agency said. “We are in support of a full ban on advertising of all forms,” Mr Schwisow said, noting that draft government legislation has been going in circles for a while.

Kun Lim, head of corporate affairs at the British American Tobacco Cambodia, said that it supports a ‘sensible’ ban on tobacco advertising. The company supports the banning of advertisement on billboards, TV and radio as well as corporate sponsorship, but not on print media and internet sites targeted at adults, Mr Lim said.

“I think at point of sale people selling cigarettes should have the freedom to put up signs to say who produced” these, he said.

(Additional reporting by Chhorn Chansy and Cheng Sokhorng)


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