More effort needed to reduce tobacco use
Although progress has been made in tobacco control, more efforts are needed on anti-tobacco measures and reduction of deaths related to smoking in Vietnam.
Dr Kidong Park, a representative of the World Health Orgnisation (WHO)'s western pacific region, made the remarks at an event marking World No Tobacco Day (May 31) and National No Tobacco Week in the central city of Da Nang. Vietnam has had some success in tobacco control, but it's still not enough.
The number of smokers is still high, with 45.3 percent of men smoking cigarettes. As part of a recent survey, 80 percent of people said they had seen smokers at restaurants and in public, Park said. About 170,000 Vietnamese people died of cardiovascular, stroke and non-infectious diseases, of which 33 percent were related to smoking,.
Park suggests the tax on tobacco products needs to be increased and smoke-free environments should be the top priority at workplaces and in public as well as at tourism attractions around Vietnam.
He said the tax on tobacco in Vietnam is still low at 35 percent, in comparison with an average of 56 percent worldwide, while the WHO recommends a tax of 70 percent.
Park said Vietnam should levy a tax from 2,000 VND (0.08 USD) to 5,000 VND (0.22 USD) on each cigarette pack, while non-smoking environments should be promoted.
He suggested a communication campaign should be introduced, including the distribution of leaflets and signs in restaurants, hotels, workplaces, hospitals, schools and public sites.