|Drinkers at a restaurant in Ha Noi City. The number of people consuming alcohol and beer is increasing year on year in Viet Nam. — Photo baomoi.com
HA NOI (VNS) — While alcohol consumption in other countries has barely changed in the past decade, the number of people consuming alcohol and beer is increasing every year in Viet Nam.
According to Pham Thi Hoang Anh, director of non-governmental organisation HealthBridge, Viet Nam consumes over 3 billion litres of beer and nearly 68 million litres of alcohol each year, costing US$3 billion a year.
In 2005, the average consumption of alcohol per capita of Vietnamese adults was at 3.8 litres per person, but this figure doubled to 6.6 litres per person later in the year later.
At a workshop to find solutions for the harmful effects of alcohol and beer held on Monday, Anh also announced the results of a study on the effects of alcohol on poverty and regular alcohol use in Vietnamese families, based on the data of living standards in 2010.
Accordingly, 57.72 per cent of Vietnamese households often use alcohol while rich families and highly educated people have shown a quantum leap in its consumption.
The survey showed that alcohol and beer are on their regular daily food list, and not just on holidays.
In families living below the poverty line, the amount of money used to buy alcohol and beer is equivalent to 146 glasses per year, while the money spent on their children is not enough to buy a cup of milk per year, the survey showed.
Along with the increase in alcohol consumption, the number of people suffering from diseases related to alcohol abuse is also on the rise.
According to the Institute of Strategic and Health Policies, alcohol ranks the fourth of eight factors which carries the highest health risk in Viet Nam.
A survey by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010 showed that nearly 67 per cent of automobile drivers and 36 per cent of motorcyclists hospitalised in traffic-related injuries have more than the permissible levels of alcohol in their system. One-fifth of deaths from traffic accidents were related to drunken driving.
Alcohol is also main cause of 33 per cent of domestic violence cases in Viet Nam.
In order to minimise the harmful effects of alcohol and reduce consumption, Dr Le Dang Doanh, former president of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said that the government should increase the tax and price on alcohol and prohibit its advertising on television.
Tran Thi Trang, deputy director of the Ministry of Health's Legal Affairs Department, said that the law on alcohol production management, trade, advertisement, and promotion is not strictly implemented.
Therefore, the health ministry has proposed a law on the prevention of the harmful effects of alcohol to overcome the limitations in the related legal system, she said. — VNS