The figures were reported at a conference on the implementation of the national tobacco harm prevention programme in 2016 held by the Ministry of Health in Hanoi on May 11. This is the result of a survey in 2015 jointly conducted by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Vietnam’s General Statistics Office and the Hanoi University of Medicine.
The survey also showed the rate of people exposed to tobacco smoke at schools decreased from 22.3% to 16.1% during the period while the exposure rate in public transportation means fell from 34.4% to 19.4%.
The rate of smoking among the 13-15 age group decreased from 3.3% in 2007 to 2.5% in 2014, with 90% of the young smokers expressing intention to stop.
However, Vietnam is still among countries with the highest male smoking rate.
According to Deputy Minister of Health Pham Le Tuan, the steering committees on tobacco harm prevention have been established in 62 cities and provinces.
Counselling for smoking cessation has also been provided at six hospitals across the country, including Bach Mai Hospital, which received more than 10,000 calls seeking help to quit smoking from July to December 2015, Tuan said.
The ministry called on ministries, local authorities and media agencies to join activities in response to the World No Tobacco (May 31) and the country’s No Tobacco Week (May 25-31).
The local authorities were urged to inspect the compliance of the Law of Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms and to raise public awareness on the issue and promote smoke-free workplaces.-