The Apsara Authority has received the Smoke-free Heritage Award from the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and World Health Organisation in South-East Asia Region for efforts to make the Angkor site smoke-free.
Authority spokesman Long Kosal said yesterday that the international bodies had seen the efforts made, such as providing training, and implementing health labels in order to make temples smoke-free since 2012.
These efforts were a matter of pride for the country, Mr Kosal noted.
“This award is an incentive, as both institutions have seen the efforts of our officials who have provided information to national and international tourists and people in the Angkor area not to smoke cigarettes, because we already know that cigarettes affect us and society,” he said.
Mr Kosal said the award has motivated the authority to keep working to educate the public and spread information about the dangers of smoking.
At the ceremony to present the award in Siem Reap province on Wednesday, Tobacco Control Alliance representative Domily Vilarey praised the authority for maintaining the site and making it smoke-free.
“This effort is one reason why we tell the world that Angkor is one of many destinations in the world which are smoke-free.”
She also urged the authority to further strengthen environmental protection in the site to promote public health and to attract more national and international tourists.
Hor Sarun, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, said on Wednesday that in October, Siem Reap will host the 7th regional meeting of Smoke-Free Cities in the Asia-Pacific region.
This was another honour for the province after the authority received the award.
“These events will enable Cambodia to attract more tourists to the Angkor area,” he said.
In late January, the Siem Reap city administration organised a meeting to implement the smoke-free city project, with the participation of commune councils, authorities and civil society organisations.
The World Health Organisation says about 10,000 people die in Cambodia from smoking cigarettes or from passive smoking every year.
It said Cambodia also lost about $200 million through spending on cigarettes each year, while $162 million was spent on treating tobacco-linked diseases.