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Tobacco kills over 15,000 people in Cambodia annually: WHO official

PHNOM PENH, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Tobacco related illnesses kill more than 15,000 people annually in Cambodia, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said on Wednesday.

"The harmful impact of the tobacco industry on the environment is vast and growing, adding unnecessary pressure to our planet's already scarce resources and fragile ecosystems," she said.

"Tobacco kills over 8 million people every year worldwide and over 15,000 people annually here in Cambodia," Li wrote on social media.

In a news release to mark the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the WHO said smoke free environments enhance tourism experiences in Cambodia and that promoting smoke-free tourism helps protect hospitality workers, visitors, and the local environment from dangerous second-hand smoke and poisonous tobacco product waste.

"Promoting smoke-free environments is a small but important step to recognizing and then curtailing the harmful effects of tobacco production and use, not only on our health, but also on the health of our planet," the news release said.

Tobacco smoke contains 7,000 chemicals, of which several are known to cause cancer, as well as three kinds of greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides, it said.

According to the Ministry of Health, there are approximately 1.68 million tobacco users in the Southeast Asian nation.