15 million Vietnamese still sparking up the tobacco

By Bui Hong Nhung   September 7, 2016 | 01:02 am PT
15 million Vietnamese still sparking up the tobacco
To curb smoking, the Vietnamese government is set to beef up inspections in public spaces and raise tobacco taxes. Photo by Reuters
Vietnam has one of the highest smoking rates in the world.

Vietnam recorded a slight decrease in tobacco users between 2010 and 2015, falling from 23.8 percent to 22.5 percent, the Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday.

The figure was quoted from the 2015 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), a nationally representative household survey conducted on men and women aged 15 years and older.

The number of male smokers also fell by 2.1 percent to hit 45.3 percent over the five-year period, and male smokers in urban areas dropped five percent to 42.7 percent.

Despite the declining number of smokers, Vietnam has one of the highest smoking rates in the world, according to the ministry.

About six million people around the world die of tobacco-related illnesses each year, including 40,000 in Vietnam. That figure is forecast to reach 50,000 by 2023.

The rate of secondhand smokers also remains high with around 80 percent of those surveyed saying they are exposed to smoke from cigarettes in restaurants, 62 percent at home and 42 percent at work.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said that in the near future, health authorities will strengthen inspections in public spaces to prevent smoking and ask the government to raise the tax on tobacco.

GATS was first launched by the World Health Organization in February 2007, enabling countries to collect data on key tobacco control measures from the full adult population.

This is the second time Vietnam has taken part in the survey following the first research conducted in 2010.

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