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Doctor Urges Cambodian Smokers to Quit

As many as 60 percent of urban Cambodians and more than 80 percent of rural villagers smoke, putting them at high risk of lung cancer, a doctor said Thursday.

Though the numbers may be decreasing in recent years thanks to anti-smoking campaigns, many people continue to smoke.

The best way to reduce health risks is to quit smoking, said Dr. Taing Tek Hong, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

“Smoking cigarettes can cause bronchitis, heart disease, cancer of the mouth,” he said.

Cambodians can find help quitting smoking by using nicotine gum or patches, or through the use of bupropion, available in the brand-name medication Zyban, Taing Tek Hong said.

Bupropion is a commonly used anti-depressant and should be available in Cambodia, he said.

Cambodians should also consider the healthcare costs of smoking, the doctor said.

For example, a non-smoker and smoker who enter the hospital with similar lung problems will undergo different tests—to greater cost for the smoker.

“The symptoms of tuberculosis and lung cancer are very similar,” Taing Tek Hong said. “But if the smoker ends up in the hospital…his treatment will cost more money, because [the hospital] will do a CAT scan, which is expensive.”