Viêt Nam must create non-smoking environment: WHO


HÀ NỘI — The World Health Organisation (WHO) urged Việt Nam to create a non-smoking environment during a meeting held on Thursday in Hà Nội, ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

The WHO representative in Việt Nam, Lokky Wai, said Việt Nam should establish a task force that comprises a group or team of inspectors and supervisors and a hotline to receive feedback and handle smoking violations.

Wai also praised Việt Nam’s achievements in the implementation of the Law on Tobacco Harm Control and Prevention, especially the expansion of non-smoking communities and the establishment of a Tobacco Harm Prevention Fund.

Surveys have showed a remarkable reduction in the exposure rate to second-hand smoke (SHS) indoors, at the workplace and at public areas, although the smoking rate has not reduced much in Việt Nam, according to Wai.

A survey conducted by WHO, the US CDC, the General Statistics Office and the Hà Nội Medical University in 2015 showed that the SHS rate at home had dropped to 59.9 per cent from 73.1 per cent in 2010.

At the workplace, the SHS rate had dropped to 42.6 per cent compared with 55.9 per cent, while the rate declined to 19.4 per cent from 34.4 per cent on public transport.

The WHO representative also suggested the health ministry further promote communication activities and create a non-smoking environment at hospitals, medical stations and public places like hotels and restaurants.

At the event, deputy minister of Health Nguyễn Viết Tiến called on ministries, provinces and cities to strengthen inspection and promote communication on tobacco prevention and control.

“Closer collaboration and support between ministries and sectors will help to maintain and strengthen activities on tobacco control and prevention. It will not only be the health sector‘s task, but also the responsibility of the whole society and community to ensure a healthy lifestyle and sustainable development of the country,” Tiến said.

On Sunday, the Việt Nam Women’s Union will also launch a campaign on building Non-Smoking Families to celebrate the World No Tobacco Day and the National No Tobacco Week (May 25-31).

Every year on May 31, WHO and its partners celebrate World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, of which more than five million are smokers or ex-smokers, while more than 600,000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030, according to the WHO.

Source: Viet Nam News

Photo: Mario Timpanaro