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May 30, 2022 / 17:34

Vietnam responds to World No Tobacco Day 2022

Vietnam needs to issue stronger tax policies to build a smoke-free environment and promote communication to raise public awareness.

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee called on people to strictly comply with the provisions of the Law on Tobacco Harm Prevention and Control in the response to the World No Tobacco Day, which falls on May 31.

With the theme “Tobacco - A threat to our environment”, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls on nations to promote activities to raise public awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco on health and urge people not to smoke to reduce waste causing environmental pollution.

Speaking at the meeting held in Hanoi on Sunday, Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the Vietnam Tobacco Control Fund under the Ministry of Health, said the number of male smokers in Vietnam drops from 45.3% in 2015 to 42.3% at present.

He cited results of a survey conducted by WHO which show the prevalence of smoking among Vietnamese students aged 13-17 decreased from 5.36% in 2013 to 2.78% in 2019.

Director of the Vietnam Tobacco Control Fund Luong Ngoc Khue speaks at the meeting. Photo: Duc Huy

“The prevention and control of the harmful effects of tobacco have been facing many difficulties such as the rate of tobacco consumption in our country, which has decreased but remains very high; especially now, on the market, there are products such as electronic cigarettes, non-combusted cigarettes and shisha which are traded and advertised on social networks and are mainly aimed at young people,” Khue said.

He suggested stronger tax policies to build a smoke-free environment and step up the communication work to raise public awareness of the harms caused by tobacco.

At the event, a video-making contest was launched to reduce the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes among young people and call for unity to build a smoke-free living and working environment.

Smoking claims 40,000 lives in Vietnam yearly

Smoking kills around 40,000 Vietnamese annually, or over 100 people per day, according to WHO's statistics.

In an interview with The Hanoi Times, Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy director of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health, said that without emergency intervention, the estimated number of deaths from tobacco-related diseases each year will increase to 70,000 by 2030.

 A banner on Hanoi’s street urges Vietnamese youth not to use tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and non-combusted cigarettes. Photo: Duc Huy

Khoa cited the fact that 96.8% of lung cancer patients in Vietnam smoke, and non-communicable diseases contribute to 73% of all deaths nationwide, adding that tobacco use is one of the major causes.

He stressed that passive smoking is also the cause of lung diseases in children, making them suffer from health problems in adulthood.

Tobacco-related harms

According to WHO, more than eight million people worldwide die from tobacco-related causes annually. Among these people, 1.2 million die from passive smoking, more than half of which are children.

Smoking can lead to addiction, debilitating health conditions, or cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and 20 different types of cancer, WHO sources said, emphasizing the pollution arising in the process of producing, transporting, and distributing tobacco products.

The organization’s statistics showed that the tobacco industry emits nearly four million tons of CO2 into the environment every year.

Moreover, waste from the process contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals that pollute the environment. Smoking can release thousands of tons of carcinogens, toxic substances, and greenhouse gases, WHO added.

To help smokers give up, WHO launched a year-long global campaign connected to World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2021, themed “Commit to quit”.

Talking about the result, WHO estimates that around 780 million people around the world have said they want to quit. Some 30% of these people now have access to tools and instructions that will help them to quit smoking, thanks to the campaign.