Nearly half of Vietnamese men drink alcohol at 'hazardous level'

By Nam Phuong   September 10, 2016 | 01:43 am PT
Nearly half of Vietnamese men drink alcohol at 'hazardous level'
Bottles of Saigon beer and Hanoi Beer are seen displayed for sale at a mini-mart in Hanoi, Vietnam September 1, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kham
45 percent of Vietnamese admitted to consuming alcohol.

With 77 percent of men and 11 percent of women admitting to drinking alcohol within 30 days prior to being surveyed, Vietnam is increasingly concerned about related health problems as well as traffic safety.

A study released yesterday by the Ministry of Health said that the rate of male drinkers increased by 11 percent while the rate of female went up by 6 percent compared to 2010 figures.

The study was carried out in all 63 provinces with the participation of some 4,000 Vietnamese aged between 18 and 69.

It revealed that 44 percent of men drank alcohol at a hazardous level, which means within 30 days, there was at least one time they drank more than 180 milliliters of hard wine or more than 6 cans of beer.

About half of the drinkers drove after two hours of drinking.

Doctor Pham Thi Hoang Anh, head of HealthBridge Canada in Vietnam, a non-governmental organization working in health improvement, said that it’s now easy for Vietnamese youngsters access alcohol. The country only bans commercials of drinks with alcohol content of 15 percent or higher.

Anh said policies to control alcohol consumption in Vietnam are not strict enough amid low prices of wine and beer.

Over the past decade, while global consumption of alcoholic beverages almost stayed the same, Vietnam was one of the few countries with rising trends, nearly quadruple the world’s average.

The doctor recommended that the government should consider passing the Law on Alcohol Control, which draft was initially planned for submission by the Ministry of Health in 2017 but it has now been delayed.

According to the World Health Organization, alcohol is one of the 10 leading causes of death worldwide, with 20 percent of drinkers dying of traffic accidents; 30 percent of cancer and 50 percent of cirrhosis.

In Vietnam, more than 40 percent of road fatalities or some 4,000 deaths were related to drunk driving last year, data from the Traffic Safety Committee showed.

Under the new law passed last August, any trace of alcohol found in a driver's body will result in a fine of up to $800.

On the supply side, domestic beer production has shown no sign of slowing down this year even though the government has imposed higher taxes on the beverage.

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