Society: The Prohibition Of Smoking In Public Areas

Date of publication: 21-09-2018

Category: Legal updates

Audience: All

The regulation prohibiting smoking in public areas was issued in a Sub-Decree No. 43 ANKR.BK dated March 16th, 2016 and covers measures to "Ban Smoking and Smoke Emission" at the workplaces or in public places. However, enforcement of the said regulation revealed itself unsuccessful. Therefore, on Thursday 24th  May 2018, Ing Phirun, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health, made a statement about the new enforcement of the sub-decree. Indeed, the secretary announced that “[the Ministry of Health has] an inspection working group of more than 500 people to work on the sub-decree, and anyone who smokes in a prohibited area will be fined 20,000 riels ($5) per time. Moreover, if they are found smoking in a hotel or restaurant, the fine will be doubled for the owners of the premises”[1]

Thus, the Sub-Decree provides the areas in which the prohibition must be enforced, the signs required to be settled and the punishment for any infringement of the prohibition.

1.    Ban areas

Public Places: Areas, where the ban will take effect include restaurants, offices, government buildings, hospitals, schools, parks... Likewise, smoke emissions are also banned at areas of public transportation, the premises of health facilities, education institutions, children’s playgrounds, public gardens, religious facilities, museums, historical or cultural sites, gas stations, airports and places with combustible materials or environment (such as petrol stations).

Working Places: Smoking or smoke emission of tobacco products indoor or 5 meters from the ‘gateway’ (entrances and exits) of the workplace. All kinds of ash-trays or pictures showing tobacco products are prohibited in these areas.

2.    Sign

The banning sign (prohibiting smoking in an area) should be written in both Khmer and English, mentioning  "ហាមជក់បារី, No Smoking", accompanied by the sign of a cigarette stick in a red circle with a red chamfering line stretched on the diameter from the left top.

Said signs must size at least 600cm2 (30cm length; 20cm width) for workplaces and public places, and 200cm2 (24cm length; 12cm width) for public transportations.

3.    Grace period to implement

Managers or owners of working places and public places have 6 months grace period to remove banned prohibited images or ash-trays and to place obligatory "No Smoking or Smoke Emission signs" in public and working areas according to the guidelines. This is also an opportunity to inform employees and the public in person and with relevant media. After the grace period, penalties for not placing a ‘No smoking and smoke emission of tobacco product sign’ in accordance with this Sub-Decree will be enforceable.

4.    Punishment

From November 18th 2016, owners and managers or other authorities who violate provisions of this Sub-Decree in any area where the ban now applies, may be liable for fines between 20,000 riels (5$) and 50,000 riels (12.5$) per violation, which will be assessed by an inspector of the Ministry of Health.

[1] Pech Sotheary, "Fines loom for smoking in public," Khmer Times, May 28, 2018, (accessed September 13, 2018).