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Visits to be conducted next month to monitor tobacco use at schools

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The authority held a workshop on the laws and penalties surrounding the implementation of a smoke-free environment on Wednesday. Photo by Long Kimmarita

Visits to be conducted next month to monitor tobacco use at schools

The Phnom Penh Authority will conduct visits to monitor the implementation of “smoke-free environment” laws at educational institutions throughout Phnom Penh next month.

In cooperation with civil society, the authority held a workshop on Wednesday on the laws and penalties surrounding the implementation of a smoke-free environment.

The visits are to enforce the Law on Control of Tobacco Products and its Sub-decree on Prohibition of Smoking or Emission of Smoke of Tobacco Products in the Workplace and Public Places. The laws prohibit smoking in the compound of educational institutions. Visits to impose fines are set to be carried out in the future.

More than 300 school directors and teachers from educational institutions throughout Phnom Penh attended the workshop at the Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Education, Youth and Sport.

Its director Hem Sinareth said each year Cambodia lost around $163 million on disease treatment and a significant amount of the workforce. Cambodians, he said, spent around $201 million a year on cigarettes.

Sinareth said the implementation of a smoke-free environment in educational institutions is a measure to reduce the effects of tobacco consumption. It also enforces compliance with tobacco laws which ban smoking in the compounds of educational institutions.

“I encourage all teachers to pay attention to the guest speaker’s presentation to know your duties as leaders of educational institutions and implement a smoke-free environment in your school in a highly effective manner,” he said.

Cambodia Movement for Health director Mom Kong said the authorities will take preliminary measures against any educational institutions that fail to implement the law in Phnom Penh, while the laws continue to be disseminated in the provinces. Fines are set to be imposed at a later date.

“Although there are no studies showing clear results at schools, they have implemented it well. But a study and visits will be carried out next month to evaluate their implementation throughout Phnom Penh,” Kong said.

The Law on Control of Tobacco Products’ Sub-decree and Instructions on the Ban on Consumption and Advertisement of Tobacco in the Compound of Public and Private Establishments says that managers and owners of educational institutions have a duty to ban the consumption, distribution and advertiseing of cigarettes at all educational institutions.

Violating the law will incur a fine of between 50,000 and one million riel ($12.50 and $250).

Phnom Penh deputy municipal governor Keo Sok Pisey, who attended the event, said the measures contribute to a reduction of disease, especially in schoolchildren who inhale second-hand cigarette smoke.

Samdech Hun Sen Phnom Penh Thmey High School director Chhay Songly told The Post on Thursday that his school has already spread the information. However, “people misbehave”.

He said he welcomed any measures the authorities planned to take now and in the future.

“I’ve told everyone many times. But, they still smoke in the school compound. They don’t smoke inside the classrooms, though. If we see them smoke, who will impose the fine? I want to have someone directly come down and fine them immediately,” Songly said.

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