Vietnam has improved tobacco control but remains at a low level

 28 January 2024

By VN Media

Vietnam is considered to be continuing to improve in implementing tobacco control measures. However, the total score is still below 50%…

Thailand and Singapore are the two countries with the highest scores in the 2023 tobacco control scorecard. The 2023 tobacco control scorecard report was released by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) ahead of the tenth session of the Conference of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, taking place in Panama from February 5-10, 2024.

The Tobacco Control Champion Award was also awarded by SEATCA to Thailand and Cambodia for outstanding activities in 2023. Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health was recognized for protecting children by introducing a ban e-cigarettes, and the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism was awarded for promoting smoke-free tourism cities.

SEATCA released the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) scorecard through an online event attended by representatives from government and civil society organizations from 40 countries, including Tien Giang. Doctor Chanthanom Manithip, Permanent Secretary of the Lao Ministry of Health and Chairman of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development.

“SEATCA congratulates Thailand and Cambodia for their decisive actions to protect public health that other countries can follow,” said Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, Chief Executive Officer of SEATCA. “The fourth edition of the FCTC Scorecard shows that, despite progress, there is still much work to be done to protect people, especially young people, from the harmful effects of tobacco and the tobacco industry. “, Dorotheo said.

Under SEATCA, civil society organizations of ASEAN countries will review the FCTC Scorecard report and remind their governments of their obligations to implement evidence-based tobacco control measures in accordance with the Convention. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which nearly all ASEAN member states have ratified.

The 2023 scorecard shows that all ASEAN countries except Malaysia (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) improved their overall scores compared to 2021. However, six Countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam) still scored below 50%, with Indonesia scoring the lowest (20.23%).

Singapore and the Philippines have good tobacco tax policies, while Thailand and Vietnam are prominent in sponsoring tobacco control programs. Thailand and Singapore also stand out for their standardized cigarette packaging policies, being the first and only two countries in Asia to implement such policies. SEATCA’s FCTC Scorecard also highlights policy gaps that need to be addressed. Compared to the 2021 score, the Philippines has regressed in combating tobacco industry interference. All countries need to continue to increase taxes to keep up with economic growth and continually make tobacco products less affordable.

According to the Report, Indonesia is lagging behind in most tobacco control measures, including banning all tobacco-related advertising, smoke-free environments, large-scale graphic health warnings and prevention of smoking. prevent interference by the tobacco industry.