Cambodia: Plans to Regulate Alcohol Ads
The Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia met with the Supreme Consultative Council to discuss introducing a sub-decree to regulate advertising of alcoholic products.
The sub-decree aims to minimize the negative effects on society of alcohol advertising. The meeting focused on the negative impacts of alcohol ads to Cambodians and the necessity of a sub-decree.
We don’t have any kind of regulation on this issue yet. The system that we have in place [to regulate alcohol ads] is not effective, as people continue to abuse alcohol, which often leads to violence. We want to make an effective law, but this will take time, so first we believe we must prepare a sub-decree,” said Seang Thay, Ministry of Commerce spokesman, as per Khmer Times.
This sub-decree while banning false or dishonest ads will not however ban all alcohol ads. A clause stipulating ads must be approved by the Ministry of Commerce before airing may be added to the sub-decree.
Reaction to civil society advocacy?
Just a few days ago, IOGT International reported that the Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH) and lawyers call for laws regulating alcohol advertisements. This call comes amidst increase in youth alcohol consumption in the country.
It is likely that the reaction of the Ministry of Commerce comes as response to the advocacy of the civil society.
According to Dr. Mom Kong the executive director of Cambodia Movement for Health, the alcohol industry’s attractive advertising is a main factor for increased alcohol consumption in Cambodian youth.
When people consume more alcohol, accidents, and diseases associated with [alcohol use] also increase, resulting in the loss of lives, especially young people,” said Dr. Mom Kong, executive director of Cambodia Movement for Health, as per Khmer Times.
Alcohol Harm in Cambodia
In Cambodia, youth alcohol use is problematic where over half (51%) of male youth between 15 to 19 years who consume alcohol binge on it. The negative health consequences are grave, placing Cambodia among the highest in years of life lost due to alcohol.
The current alcohol policy in Cambodia contains vast gaps in restricting alcohol use, alcohol advertising and promotions. Alcohol ad bans are recommended by the WHO alcohol policy best buys in controlling alcohol use. The proposed sub-decree is a positive step for Cambodia to implement stronger regulations and curb the growing alcohol harm specially among the youth.