Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of cigarette smoking in Cambodia and identify prevailing knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP).
Design: Information on tobacco smoking and KAP was collected using the 30-cluster survey design wherein 10-15 males (age over 15 years) were interviewed from each of 30 randomly-selected population clusters in Phnom Penh (herein referred to as 'urban') and Siem Reap (herein referred to as 'rural') for a total of 601 interviews.
Results and discussion: Findings show that 65% of urban respondents and 86% of rural respondents smoke. Rural men start smoking at an earlier age, but the average urban smoker spends more. 17% of an urban smoker's personal cash income is spent on tobacco, whereas his rural counterpart spends 8%. This discrepancy is partly due to extensive tobacco brandname promotion in urban areas which has resulted in the average price of a pack of cigarettes being four times higher than that of rural. Other findings show an inverse correlation between incidence of smoking and levels of education/income. Concerning smoking cessation, 66% of urban smokers and 86% of rural smokers interviewed indicated they would attend a program in their area to stop smoking if such a program were available.
Conclusion: The high prevalence of smoking in Cambodia, and the health impact it has and will increasingly have on its people is significant. The high cash expenditure for tobacco, especially in urban, is an important factor contributing to Cambodia's impoverished economy. Education, regulatory policies, and smoking cessation are important measures to be considered for effective tobacco control planning and implementation.