Vietnam seeks to expand war on smoking

13:43 | 22/05/2017 Travel

(VEN) - As Hanoi grapples with high levels of pollution resulting, in part, from dense motorcycle traffic, the capital is also declaring war on another source of harmful smoke: cigarettes.  

The capital is seeking to follow the examples of cities like Hoi An, Ha Long and Nha Trang by creating a smoke-free environment. The initiative focuses on famous tourist sites such as Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain), the Temple of Literature, and the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, which draw thousands of domestic and foreign visitors daily.

Hanoi will highlight its campaign at “World No Tobacco Day” on May 31 and Vietnam’s “National No Tobacco Week” from May 25-31, with the participation of the Ministry of Health, representatives of departments and agencies, and the media.
Hanoi already provides treatment of smoking addiction at the Hanoi Oncology Hospital, and builds evaluation criteria to commend and reward collectives and individuals with good and effective ideas to prevent tobacco harms.

Building a smoke-free environment implements the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harm. The city will organize training courses to improve the capacity of the steering committees in 30 districts and towns in building smoke-free public places and workplaces. It also plans to strengthen information and education campaigns in 30 districts, towns and 584 communes.

Inspection of tobacco trading at city and district levels will also be tightened, and strict fines imposed on violators. Supervision will be increased at no-smoking areas, and violators at restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions will be punished.

A smoke-free tourist city initiative was first implemented in Quang Ninh Province’s Ha Long City in 2009, raising awareness of the harm posed by tobacco to smokers and non-smokers.

In Hoi An, no smoking signs have been posted at all tourist sites, some hotels and restaurants since 2012 in order to encourage a smoke-free environment.

The model of a smoke-free environment is expected to be further expanded in localities across the country.

According to data issued early this month by the cancer treatment hospital in Hanoi, some 126,000 new cancer cases are detected each year, of which 94,000 are fatal. This ranks Vietnam in 78th place out of 172 countries in terms of the number of cancer cases.

Thanh Tam