Deputy PM urges nation to wise up to effects of tobacco
HA NOI — Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan called for public involvement in tobacco harm prevention at a meeting to celebrate World No Tobacco Day (May 31) yesterday.
"Tobacco use is seen as the leading threat to health and the sustainable development of the country," Nhan stressed.
"On behalf of the Government, I would like to call on ministries, sectors, political and social organisations and people to participate in tobacco harm prevention and support the National Assembly (NA)'s adoption of the Law on Tobacco Harm Prevention."
"We hope that the promulgation of the law, expected to be adopted at the on-going third session of the 13th NA, would create an important legal corridor and solid foundation for the strengthening of effective tobacco harm prevention with an aim to protect and improve people's health," he said.
Nhan also asked the health, communication and information ministries to put forward communication activities on strengthening awareness on tobacco harm prevention. Health and education ministries as well as relevant sectors and local people's committees at all levels were asked to strictly obey regulations related to tobacco bans at medical, educational, working and public areas.
On the occasion of the day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also called for countries to prevent the intervention of the tobacco industry as a key task of tobacco control efforts with an aim to effectively control the dangers of tobacco on a global scale.
With the theme "tobacco industry interference", World No Tobacco Day 2012 aims to educate policy-makers and the general public about the tobacco industry's nefarious and harmful tactics.
Ministry of Health statistics reported that Viet Nam was one among the developing countries with a high rate of fatality due to smoking related disease, with about 40,000 people killed yearly. Money spent on buying cigarettes has reached nearly VND22 trillion (over US$1 billion). It is estimated that expenditure on stroke, heart and lung disease treatment would reach more than $95 million a year.
A survey on tobacco use amongst adults in Viet Nam conducted by the ministry showed that male smoking rates have reduced by 9 per cent to 47.4 per cent in 2010 with female rate hit 1.4 per cent in 2010.
More than 33 million people inhaled second-hand smoke at home and 5 million passively smoked at work. The rate of people obeying regulations on smoking bans in public areas was low while tobacco products were sold at a low price compared to neighbouring countries and available everywhere, with even children able of buying cigarettes.
The organisation said that smoking killed nearly 6 million people globally each year, of which 600,000 deaths were caused by diseases relating to second-hand smoking. Without timely intervention measures, the annual fatality rate due to smoking would reach 8 million by 2030, of which 80 per cent would be from low and medium income countries. — VNS