Ministry proposes ban on smoking at weddings, funerals

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has asked people's committee in cities and provinces to make no smoking at workplace a rule in their office regulation.

In a written document that was sent to local authorities on No Tobacco Day, which is observed worldwide on May 31, the minister has called for the strict inspection of no smoking compliance at workplaces, restaurants, and public transport facilities.

No smoking signboards should be installed in agencies and government offices, she said. Offices should strictly enforce smoking ban at workplaces.

The Health Ministry has proposed that no smoking at workplaces should be one of the criteria for evaluating officials and workers. The ministry has told agencies to carry out frequent inspection and evaluation of the no smoking regulation inside the workplaces of organs under their management.

The minister has also asked local authorities to include a regulation in village rules restricting smoking at weddings and funerals.

Health Minister Tien, who is chairperson of Management Council on Tobacco Control Fund, said Vietnam is witnessing a rapid increase in non-infectious diseases, and smoking is the main cause of such diseases, including lung cancer, stroke, aortic aneurysm, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

According to reports from the Health Ministry's Legal Department, the number of smokers in Vietnam has reached an alarming level of 15.3 million. Nearly 60% of the population is exposed to secondhand smoke. Every year, some 40,000 people in Vietnam die of diseases related to smoking.

Earlier, Hanoi enforced a complete indoor smoking ban at health-care and education centres, recreation centres for children, as well as in areas that are at high risk of fires.

The purpose is to gradually reduce demand for cigarettes and limit tobacco consumption in Vietnam and thereby prevent diseases caused by smoking.

The capital has implemented a complete indoor smoking ban at workplaces, colleges, universities, academies, and public transport facilities.

The capital's airports, bars, discotheques, and hotels have dedicated smoking zones.

Hanoi's authorities are planning to impose regulations on smoking in public areas and workplaces. They will inspect and report any violation of the anti-smoking law, especially at places where smoking is prohibited.