Rise in Booze Consumption Prompts Fresh Calls for Alcohol Advert Ban

Renewed calls are being made to ban alcohol advertising after the latest Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2021-2022 showed a rise in consumption
Billboards promoting beers in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Prak Chan Thul
Billboards promoting beers in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Prak Chan Thul

A rise in alcohol consumption has triggered concerns over young teenagers, with organization urging the government to ban beer advertisements to curb the problem.

The latest Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2021-2022, published in March, highlights the alcohol consumption rate in Cambodia recently with comparisons between urban and provincial areas.

It shows that nearly seven in 10 men (69 percent) and 16 percent of women consume alcoholic beverages. The majority of women who consume alcoholic beverages (85 percent) only drank one to five days during the month preceding the survey.

The survey also revealed that men drink more frequently than women. Of those surveyed, 10 percent of men drink every day or almost every day, 60 percent drink one to five days a month, 18 percent drink six to 10 days per month, and 12 percent drink between 11 and 24 days per month.

Among women who consumed alcohol during the preceding month, 80 percent had only one drink, whereas 12 percent consumed two drinks.

“Twenty percent of men consumed at least four drinks on days when alcohol was consumed, 24 percent consumed two to three drinks, and 56 percent consumed only one drink,” stated the report.

It added that alcohol consumption among women is less common in Koh Kong (3 percent) than in Svay Rieng (34 percent) and Stung Treng (26 percent). Alcohol consumption among men is generally high in all provinces, ranging from 64 percent in Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, and Stung Treng to 80 percent in Mondulkiri and Preah Vihear.

The proportion of women who consume alcohol is higher in urban areas than in rural areas, at 18 percent and 15 percent consecutively. There is no urban-rural difference in alcohol consumption among men. The report noted that alcohol consumption does not have a linear association with education or household wealth.

Am Sam Ath, operations director of Licadho, told Kiripost on Wednesday that consuming more alcoholic drinks is not only harmful for the health; furthermore, it will can cause traffic accidents and violence in community.

“If we over drink firstly, it will affect our health. Secondly, drivers will cause traffic accidents and lastly it can cause violence in families since drunks cannot control themselves,” he said.

Excessive beer advertisement is also considered a main factor that encourages people to drink more, and he urged the government to ban alcohol beverages advertisements countrywide, foreseeing the side effects, especially among young people.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions. It is associated with the risk of developing health problems, such as mental and behavioral disorders, including alcohol dependence, and major noncommunicable diseases, such as liver cirrhosis, some cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

Beyond health consequences, the harmful use of alcohol brings significant social and economic losses to individuals and society at large.

A fundamental proportion of the disease burden attributable to alcohol consumption arises from unintentional and intentional injuries, including those due to road traffic crashes, violence, and suicide. Fatal alcohol-related injuries tend to occur in relatively younger age groups.

Moreover, a causal relationship has been established between harmful drinking and incidence or outcomes of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Alcohol consumption by an expectant mother may cause foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and preterm birth complications.