Inspectors from the Ministry of Health have started to inspect smoke-free restaurants and hotels in Hà Nội as part of efforts to build a non-smoking environment in public places. — Photo infonet.vn
HÀ NỘI — Inspectors from the Ministry of Health have started to inspect smoke-free restaurants and hotels in Hà Nội as part of efforts to build a non-smoking environment in public places.
The inspections, which began on Monday, will last through December at more than 100 restaurants and hotels in nine districts of the capital, said Đoàn Thị Thu Hiền from the ministry’s Fund for Tobacco Harm Prevention and Control at a workshop held yesterday.
Last year, health inspectors checked 100 restaurants and hotels in Hà Nội and fined violators a total of VNĐ91 million (US$4,000), she said.
Under current regulations, those violating regulations on non-smoking areas will be fined between VNĐ100,000 to VNĐ10 million ($4.5-450), depending on the severity of the infringement.
“Regular inspections will be carried out every quarter by district authorities while the health ministry will conduct unexpected inspections twice a year,” she said.
“The inspections are expected to raise awareness of both restaurant owners and customers of the harmful effects of smoking. In 2015, only 25.1 per cent of 195 surveyed restaurants adopted smoke-free regulations and the figure nearly doubled to 44.1 per cent this year,” she said.
Under the Law on Tobacco Harm Prevention and Control, effective from 2013, restaurants are listed as indoor public areas where smoking is banned.
However, according to the 2015 Global Adult Tobacco Survey in Việt Nam, restaurants are among public places affected most by tobacco smoke, said Director of Healthbridge Canada in Việt Nam Phạm Thị Hoàng Anh.
She stressed that many restaurants and hotels across the world had a smoke-free environment and the move would not reduce restaurants’ income as many restaurant owners expected but would help attract more customers.
According to the Centre on Health Education’s report released last year, 358 out of 400 hotels and restaurants rated from one to five stars signed a commitment on non-smoking. The commitment was in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Convention on Tobacco Control.
An estimated 100 deaths occur every day in Việt Nam because of smoking-related diseases, according to the WHO. — VNS