(From left) WHO Representative in Việt Nam Kidong Park (left), Vietnamese actor Xuân Bắc (second from left), owner of Cantonese restaurant San Fu Lou in Hoàn Kiếm District, along with Lương Ngọc Khuê, Head of the Health Ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment and Director of the Việt Nam Tobacco Control Fund, participated in placing no smoking signs at the restaurant. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết
HÀ NỘI — The Vietnamese health ministry along with the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Việt Nam on Saturday launched a campaign to encourage smoke-free restaurants and hotels in Hà Nội.
Addressing the campaign, WHO Representative in Việt Nam Kidong Park said every year, 8 million people died from tobacco use around the world.
In Việt Nam, 15 million adults smoke while the number of passive smokers is 75 million.
Nearly 40,000 people die each year in the country from tobacco use along with about 6,000 casualties from secondhand smoking, the WHO official said, urging an end to “the deaths of these blameless victims” of passive smoking.
“WHO called upon you to begin this with implementing smoke-free restaurants and hotels, which include simple acts such as placing no smoking signs at visible areas of hotels and restaurants,” the WHO representative told restaurant and hotel owners.
Inspections from law enforcement units would surely result in a higher compliance rate, he added.
Lương Ngọc Khuê, Head of the Health Ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment and Director of the Việt Nam Tobacco Control Fund, said a smoke-free tourism environment is an effective way to realise people’s right to breathe clean air, which would help both tourists and tourism workers avoid diseases associated with passive smoking, reduce medical costs and protect the scenery and draw in more tourists.
However, smoke-free measures in hotels and restaurants must be carried out more fully, as most owners are not paying due attention to anti-smoking regulations, Khuê said.
According to a 2020 study conducted by the Việt Nam Tobacco Control Fund, the rate of secondhand smoking in these establishments remains high – with 80 per cent of customers exposed to smoking in restaurants, and 65 per cent in hotels, the Vietnamese health official noted.
He added that in the coming time, the fund will support ministries, sectors, and local administrations to promote the implementation of the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms.
After the launching ceremony, no smoking signs were installed at Hilton Hà Nội Opera (No.1 Lê Thánh Tông) and San Fu Lou restaurant – Cantonese Kitchen (No.6 Phan Chu Trinh) in Hoàn Kiếm District of Hà Nội.
About 200 restaurants and hotels in the capital city are expected to join the campaign. — VNS