Cambodia: Tobacco or health: An overview
In 1997, the United Nations Development Programme’s human poverty index ranked Cambodia as one of the seven most impoverished countries in the world on the basis of life expectancy, lack of basic education and lack of access to economic resources. Cambodia is primarily a rural country, with only 15% of its 10.7 million people residing in cities. The capital city of Phnom Penh has only a little over 1 million people. Plagued by decades of civil war, political upheaval, and economic insecurity, the Cambodian Government has not considered tobacco and its related illnesses a significant socioeconomic issue. Low immunization coverage, malnutrition and diarrhoeal diseases, and high infant and maternal mortality rates remain priorities for health care. Nevertheless, World Health Organization consultants estimate that 1 million of the children alive in Cambodia today will eventually die of tobacco-related causes.