Regulations curbing tobacco use introduced but their effect has been negligible.
The Law on Tobacco Harm Prevention was introduced in 2012 but has had little effect, with widespread violations continuing on bans against advertising and promoting tobacco.
According to a recent investigation by the Hanoi School of Public Health, there were some 1,200 violations found in six provinces: Thai Binh, Hai Duong, Khanh Hoa, Binh Dinh, Dong Thap, and Bac Lieu, with retalers failing to properly post signs that read “It is prohibited to sell tobacco for people under 18”.
Smoking kills more than 100 people every day in Vietnam; four times more than traffic accidents. In a recent poll conducted by the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, Vietnam recorded a high rate of passive smoking, with 67.6 per cent of non-smokers affected at home and 49 per cent at work. Fifteen million Vietnamese are daily smokers and the number of young people taking up the habit is increasing, mostly because of the relatively cheap price of tobacco in the country.
In 2013 another law was issued on preventing smoking in public places, especially hospital grounds. Individuals who smoke in public places or other no-smoking areas will be fined up to $13.75. Many people doing so, however, escape sanction as only the chairs of local people’s committees, inspectors, and police have the power to issue fines.
The Ministry of Health and relevant agencies will launch more communications campaigns targeting the creation of non-smoking environments, according to Mr. Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Medical Services.