Vietnam - national campaign launched calling for smoking ban..

December 21, 2009 - The Vietnam Ministry of Health and the World Lung Foundation on December 18 launched a national campaign calling for a smoking ban in all public places.

Back on August 26, 2009 we reported that starting from January 1, 2010 smoking in schools, hospitals, libraries, cinemas, factories, offices and on public transport will be prohibited. The ban will then extend to all indoor public spaces by the end of 2010, the statement said, adding the Vietnamese government also plans to apply "high tariff levels" on tobacco products next year to cut consumption. (Viet Nam - to ban smoking and increase tax..)

This national campaign includes two TV ads which will be broadcast in Vietnam for four weeks. Sandra Mullin, a representative from the World Lung Foundation, said that the images in the ads are very strong, which convey the massage [message] that smoking and breathing cigarette smoke is fatal and especially dangerous for children.

The Hanoi Medical University in April 2009 carried out research in three provinces, Thai Nguyen, Thua Thien – Hue and Vinh Long, about the implementation of the ban of smoking in public sites like rail and bus stations, airports, hospitals, schools, theatres and restaurants. This ban was issued four years ago. Officials from grassroots to central levels participated, along with 600 members of the public.

This is the premise for the project “For a Vietnam without cigarette smoke”.

The work shows that the ban is ineffective when both officials and people neglect this regulation. Restaurants and cafes have the heaviest concentration of smoke. Vietnam has a male smoking rate of 56 percent, one of the highest in the world.

“This ban is nearly ineffective. Actually, there is no smoking ban; just advice not to smoke in public sites. Even at my office, they don’t smoke partly thanks to their awareness and partly because the women complain,” said a representative from the National Assembly Committee for Social Issues. According to World Health Organisation figures, only two percent of women in Vietnam smoke.

Most of the 600 people said they didn’t know about the ban of smoking at cafes, restaurants or cinemas. Especially, none of people from Thua Thien – Hue province knew about this regulation.

The reason, according to researchers, is the lack of sanctions for those committing violalations [violations]. “It is simple because if one smokes, he will only be reminded or looked unsympathetically by others,” said an official.

People caught smoking in public places will receive fines beginning in January, the Ministry of Health has announced. Under the campaign, anyone caught smoking in public areas including schools, office buildings, theaters, cultural houses, factories, places vulnerable to fire and explosion, and public transport vehicles will be fined. The fines range from warnings to financial penalties of VND50,000-100,000 (USD 2.71 - 5.41). Inspectors from concerned agencies and People’s Committees in localities will administer the penalties.

Ministry of Health calls for smoking ban in public places,, 12/18/2009;
Smokers face fines in New Year, LookAtVietnam, 12/21/2009.

Vietnam - related news brief: Viet Nam - to ban smoking and increase tax...