HCM CITY — Health officials warn that there is a serious shortage of funds to carry out campaigns against tobacco use and trading.
Currently, nearly 90 per cent of the money for anti-tobacco activities come from international organisations.
But many are likely to stop their funding since the country is no longer listed as a poor country after its per capita income crossed US$1,000.
According to Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Ministry of Health's Medical Examination Department, said the annual Government budget for anti-tobacco programmes is around VND1 billion (US$48,000). International organisations provide VND7-8 billion.
But authorities said they needed VND700 billion ($33.3 million) a year, with Khue adding that only then could programmes to prevent tobacco smuggling and propagate against its ill-effects be effective.
Ten years after a tobacco-prevention programme was begun, none of its targets have been achieved, especially that of reducing the proportion of smokers.
In 2000 the national proportion of men smokers was 56.1 per cent, and a decade later it came down to 47.4 per cent, a reduction of 15 per cent against a target of 20 per cent.
According to the World Health Organisation, Viet Nam remains among the 15 top countries in terms of number of smokers.
Every year more than 40,000 Vietnamese die of diseases related to smoking.
The cost of treating diseases directly caused by smoking – like lung cancer and coronary and lung problems – is VND1 trillion ($48 million) a year.
WHO warned that by 2030 the number of deaths would increase to 70,000, much higher than the number caused by HIV/AIDS or road accidents. — VNS