VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Health and the World Lung Foundation on December 18 launched a national campaign calling for a smoking ban in all public places.
This campaign includes two TV ads which will be broadcast in Vietnam for four weeks. Sandra Mullin, a representative from the World Lung Foundation, said that the images in the ads are very strong, which convey the massage that smoking and breathing cigarette smoke is fatal and especially dangerous for children.
The Hanoi Medical University in April 2009 carried out research in three provinces, Thai Nguyen, Thua Thien – Hue and Vinh Long, about the implementation of the ban of smoking in public sites like rail and bus stations, airports, hospitals, schools, theatres and restaurants. This ban was issued four years ago.
Officials from grassroots to central levels participated, along with 600 members of the public.
This is the premise for the project “For a Vietnam without cigarette smoke”.
The work shows that the ban is ineffective when both officials and people neglect this regulation. Restaurants and cafes have the heaviest concentration of smoke. Vietnam has a male smoking rate of 56 per cent, one of the highest in the world.
“This ban is nearly ineffective. Actually, there is no smoking ban; just advice not to smoke in public sites. Even at my office, they don’t smoke partly thanks to their awareness and partly because the women complain,” said a representative from the National Assembly Committee for Social Issues. According to World Health Organisation figures, only two percent of women in Vietnam smoke.
Most of the 600 people said they didn’t know about the ban of smoking at cafes, restaurants or cinemas. Especially, none of people from Thua Thien – Hue province knew about this regulation.
The reason, according to researchers, is the lack of sanctions for those committing violalations. “It is simple because if one smokes, he will only be reminded or looked unsympathetically by others,” said an official.