Vietnam - who will enforce smoking ban to start January 1, 2010??

December 29, 2009 - A new government decision to ban smoking in indoor public areas will be effective from January 1, 2010, but it is still unclear who will make the ban come true. The decision says a person found smoking in public places will be fined between VND50,000 (US$2.6) and VND100,000 (US$5.2), but who will force smokers to pay fines is not mentioned.

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.

Ministry of Transport chief inspector, Nguyen Xuan Hao, said inspectors had yet to receive any instructions on how to punish smokers in public places. Hao said a lack of traffic inspectors may cause difficulties in implementing the smoking ban.

According to the Tobacco Prevention Program office, 30 ministries and agencies have submitted their plans on banning public smoking, in which the Ministry of Public Security proposed that policemen are authorized to punish violators.

Back in August 2009 it was reported that Viet Nam would ban smoking and increase taxes on tobacco products.. The ban will include classrooms, kindergartens, healthcare facilities, libraries, theaters, cinemas, public transportation and indoor workplaces.

The government will continue to ban tobacco sales to people under 18 as well as sales via the internet, telephone or automatic selling machines. Only authorized retail outlets would be allowed to sell tobacco products from 2010.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also gave his approval to impose higher taxes on tobacco imports from 2010.

Vietnam has one of the highest smoking rates in the world but there is a marked disparity between the numbers of male to female smokers, with 56.1 percent of men lighting up regularly compared to only 1.8 percent of women. According to World Health Organization more than 40,000 Vietnamese die from smoking-related diseases each year.

Reference: Smoking ban grows dim, Tuoi Tre,, 12/28/2009.

Vietnam - some related news brief:
Vietnam - national campaign launched calling for smoking ban..;
Viet Nam - to ban smoking and increase tax..;