Vietnam: Hanoi, HCM City build smoke-free environments in public areas

20 October 2019
VNA

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are piloting programmes to reduce smoking.
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) — Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are piloting programmes to reduce smoking.

The cities are trying to encourage people not to smoke in hospitals, hotels, restaurants and bus stations in order to reduce the harmful effects of passive smoking.

Phan Thu Huong, deputy head of Respiratory Centre under Bach Mai Hospital, said at a recent workshop that the hospital had not only printed posters and leaflets but also improved the capacity for doctors and medical staff so that they could consult smokers about harmful effects of tobacco and give them smoking cessation methods.

The meeting was held in Hanoi by the Ministry of Information and Communication, aiming to provide data for local media about projects implementing smoke-free environments in Hanoi and HCM City.

Huong also said the hospital conducted a survey among 300 smokers. Results showed 81.8 per cent of smokers intended to quit smoking, 89.3 per cent of smokers wanted to be advised to quit smoking and 64.7 per cent of smokers want to get free advice via phone calls.

The hospitals had directly consulted about 15,400 patients who smoked since 2017 and consulted via hotline (18006606) for more than 33,400 smokers since 2015, she added.     

Tran Thi Thanh Nhan, head of Health Office of Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem District, said the district administration launched the project of smoke-free restaurants and hotels in 2017.

There were 109 of the total 254 local restaurants and hotels installed smoke-free signs so far, she said.

The district had already piloted a smoke-free tourism model in 30 destinations, including famous landmarks such as Ngoc Son Temple, Ba Kieu Temple, Vietnam National Museum of History, Vietnam Museum of Revolution, Quan Su Pagoda, Ba Đa Pagoda, Hanoi Opera House, St Joseph’s Cathedral, and National Library of Vietnam.

She said the model had already installed no-smoking signs at many locations.

Anyone caught smoking in prohibited areas will be fined between 100,000 – 300,000 VND (4.3-13 USD). Restaurants not displaying signs will be fined between 3-5 million VND.

Ho Quy Vinh, head of Sai Gon Bus Station said the station had run a project to reduce passive smoking at public transport locations between November 2018 and October 2020.

The project aims to halve the rate of passive smoking in public transport locations in the city by 2020, he said.

Vinh said the city had installed smoke-free signs in six bus stations and 500 bus stops in the city, adding inspection teams were set up to warn and fine anyone violating regulations.
Vo Thanh Lam, head of the ministry’s Legal Department said according to the World Health Organisation, cigarette smoke not only affected smokers but also polluted the environment and caused non-smokers to suffer similar diseases.

One of the effective solutions to reduce the harmful effects to non-smokers was to set up a smoke-free model in hospitals, hotels and restaurants.
Lâm said in the modern life, meeting at restaurants and hotels became more popular. So, building a smoke-free environment was necessary to protect the right to live in a clean environment of non-smokers./.