Northern tourist town Ha Long City will tell its smokers to butt out, particularly in public areas. Ha Long will become the country’s second smoke-free city thanks to a project launched on September 26 by U.S.-based Campaign for Tobacco – Free Kids in the city.
Ha Long, in northern Quang Ninh Province, is home to UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay, one of the major tourist destinations in northern Vietnam.
The US$284,500 project is being run by the U.S. organization and the Vietnam Union of Sciences and Technology Associations and aims to raise public awareness of the harmful effects of smoking, second-hand smoke and establishing a smoking ban at public spaces by imposing heavy penalties on violators.
Viet Nam is one of 164 countries that have ratified the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, making it one of the most widely embraced treaties in United Nation’s history.
According to the WHO, Vietnam has one of the world’s highest smoking rates, with 56.1 percent of men and 1.8 percent of women being active smokers.
More than 40,000 Vietnamese die from smoking-related diseases each year, or quadruple the number of traffic fatalities.