Holy Smoke (2001)

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    United Kingdom

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Twenty-fifth programme in the second series of `Life' programmes, focusing on the impact of globalisation on the urban environment. Like many other developing countries, Cambodia is taking the brunt of the aggressive marketing techniques of big cigarette companies, as their sales fall in the more industrialised countries. There are no health warnings on tobacco products in Cambodia, and no bans on sales to minors resulting in one of the highest rates of smoking in the world and life expectancy of only 54 years. Since 1993, there has been a ban on tobacco advertising on the public broadcast media but not on private media, and surveys show that tobacco advertising on television and radio has quadrupled since 1996 and accounts for 46% of all street advertising. British American Tobacco has a 40% market share and encourages local farmers to switch to growing tobacco. Japan Tobacco even advertises its Mild Seven cigarettes on ice cream vans. On Friday February 4th 2001, Roth Saroeun, Venerable Heal Monk of the Samrong Andet Pagoda declared his pagoda smoke-free, as his third and final class of monks completed the `Khmer Quit Now' programme. Eighty-two monks at the pagoda had pledged themselves to fight their addiction setting an example to the rest of Cambodian society. The Buddhist monks are now spearheading the campaign to persuade Cambodians to give up tobacco.

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