Vietnam lawmakers say no to overnight alcohol ban

By Hoang Thuy   June 3, 2019 | 04:58 pm PT
Vietnam lawmakers say no to overnight alcohol ban
Customers hold glasses of beer at a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham
The parliament has rejected a curfew on the sale of alcoholic drinks proposed by the Ministry of Health.

The health ministry proposed in a bill aiming to reduce alcohol consumption that Vietnam bans the sale of all alcohol drinks from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day.

But only 224 or 46.3 percent of deputies at the National Assembly, the nation's main legislative body, agreed with the proposal on Monday. The approval of more than half the deputies is needed for a bill or provision to be passed.

The legislators also voted down another provision in the bill.

Only 44 percent of them said yes to banning those found with alcohol content in their blood or breath from driving on the streets.

With a 73 percent vote, they have the nod to a proposed time frame for advertising liquor on television and radio. The proposed provision would ban advertisements of alcoholic drinks from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and right before, during and right after programs for children.

The draft law on the prevention of dangers of alcoholic drinks will be voted on at the end of the ongoing National Assembly session on June 14.

It initially contained several prohibitions including: promotion in any manner of liquor with alcohol content of 15 degrees or more; ban on use of positive phrases like "medicinal alcohol," "nutritious alcohol" in product labels and ban on sale of alcohol to persons under 18; ban on advertising alcohol during television prime time (6-9 p.m.); ban on sale of alcohol to persons under 18; and a ban on online alcohol sales.

The NA last week had removed the proposal to prohibit online liquor sales, saying it goes against international trends and challenges e-commerce development.

Vietnam already bans advertisements for hard liquor.

Alcohol, especially beer, is widely consumed in Vietnam. Data collected by the Ministry of Health shows Vietnamese citizens consumed 305 million liters of liquor and 4.1 billion liters of beer in 2017, making it the biggest alcohol consumer in Southeast Asia and third biggest in Asia after Japan and China.

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