Curb Alcohol Ads: Deputy PM
Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An called yesterday for action against alcohol advertisements, particularly those aimed at women.
She said experts were worried about the issue because many young women were attracted to alcohol and suffered violence because of it.
She told a seminar at the InterContinental Phnom Penh Hotel that in recent years alcohol advertisements had become very attractive to those who saw or heard them.
The ads gave confusing messages about alcohol.
Ms. Sam An, who is also Cambodian Women’s Association for Peace and Development president, urged action to reduce the negative aspects of alcohol use.
She said laws should be enforced effectively to protect women and children and to prevent the influence of alcohol and violence on them.
Public and private institutions must educate people about the health problems and the dangers of alcohol.
She said: “Ministries and institutions with expertise should check and block advertising images which encourage alcohol use through public media.”
Ket Marady, director of the legal department at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said a ministry survey found that alcohol increases the probability of violence against a family partner by up to 27 percent.
World Health Organization Cambodia representative Yel Daravuth said 33 percent of young women use alcohol at a similar rate to men.
“We think that the rate will increase because we haven’t seen any measures to reduce it,” he said. “We hope that this seminar will tell women that alcohol does not have good effects.
“Besides the health effects, economic damage, traffic accidents and violence, women will damage the reproductive system and their memory and brain. It can lead to mental illness if they use alcohol seriously.”
Mom Kong, executive director of the Cambodia Movement for Health, said: “Women currently are the target of alcohol producers which means that there are many messages and advertisements to attract women to start using alcohol.
“And we see women, especially young women and girls, also beginning to use alcohol which is a concern.”
Mr. Mom Kong said alcohol advertisements are attractive, which increases the use of alcohol especially with women. The government should take action on alcohol advertisements to reduce the harm to people.
Ouk Kimseng of the Information Ministry said some institutions are competent to check on the issue and the ministry has been participating on restricting advertisements which excessively promote alcohol use in the media.
“We have asked television stations to reduce alcohol advertisements or not to allow them at certain times,” he said. “We can’t end them completely like cigarettes, but we have already taken some action.”
In May, senators, Assembly members, civil society and youth groups called on the government to speed up the adoption of a draft law on alcohol to cut the risk caused by excess drinking.
A survey showed that 96 percent of people want the government to take effective action on the management of alcohol production and 95 percent support the prohibition of sales of alcohol to children and the use of alcohol by children.
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