Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that the Vietnamese smoking population is among the biggest in the world, with nearly half of the male population aged 15 or more, or more than 15 million people, engaging in the habit. The number of female smokers is small.
As studies have linked tobacco to around 25 diseases due to its high content of toxic chemicals, including 70 carcinogens, the habit has proved deadly and costly in Vietnam.
Smokers spend around US$1 billion a year on tobacco and treatment of related diseases, but yet around 40,000 die every year, and without drastic intervention the number is expected to shoot up to 70,000 by 2030.
A number of anti-smoking campaigns and regulations have helped reduce the number of smokers and passive smokers over the past few years, but the rates remain very high.
According to the ministry, 30 million people, most of them women and children, still have to put up with passive smoking.
The government imposes a 65% luxury tax on tobacco and plans to raise it to 70% this year and 75% in 2019.
But the increases have been criticized by health experts as too modest.