ATIC helps government raise awareness of new health warning pictured on cigarette packages

ATIC helps government raise awareness of new health warning pictured on cigarette packages

The Cambodia Tobacco Industry Association (ATIC) is helping the Cambodian government raise awareness among traders and vendors across the country on the implementation of printing new text and picture health warnings (PHW) in Khmer on cigarette packs.

According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the new PHW will cover 55% of a package of tobacco products and consist of texts and images on smoking that can lead to heart disease. and fatal emphysema. Implementation will begin from December 1, 2021, while existing tobacco products that comply with the law and paid for in taxes can be sold until they are exhausted in the market.

ATIC President Roy Manalili said members of his association comprising international tobacco companies – such as JTI, BAT, Imperial and PMI – produced a poster advertising the new directive and that their Vendors distributed the posters to over 20,000 retail outlets across the Kingdom. .

“Our members have printed the new textual and graphic health warning on our product packaging. The association is happy to follow and support the authorities in this process of promoting public health and strengthening fair competition, ”said Manalili.

A study by the well-known international research agency Kantar into the illicit tobacco trade across Cambodia last year found that the total estimated number of cigarettes in stock was 4.7 million packs of cigarettes with 3.4 million compliant packets and 1.3 million non-compliant packets (27 percent) without a valid PHW.

Further analysis was carried out that among these non-compliant cigarettes, 18% were identified as illicit products that did not print textual and pictorial health warnings in Khmer and tax stamps on cigarette packages. This figure is remarkably high and poses a major challenge for law enforcement agencies in promoting public health in the country.

“The ministry’s priority action to enforce and strengthen existing regulations on tobacco products without a pictorial health warning was thought to be a much bigger step than issuing or expanding a new pictorial health warning. Better rule enforcement would increase the playing field in the market for a transparent business environment, in line with the government’s latest policy reform, ”Manalili said.

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