With almost half (47.4 percent) of adult men smoking or getting involved in other uses of tobacco, Vietnam has been put into the group of countries with extremely high smoking rates among men.
The risk of secondhand smoking is also high with 67.6 percent of the adults exposed to the risk at home and 49.0 percent at the workplace. The highest rate of secondhand smoking was found at cafes, wine and tea shops (92.6 percent), followed by restaurants (84.9 percent) and universities (54.5 percent).
The figures were released at a workshop in Hanoi on October 27 where the Ministry of Health released the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) result related to Vietnam.
Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen said tobacco is the cause of 25 potentially fatal diseases. She quoted the World Health Organisation (WHO) as estimating that unless Vietnam takes prompt measures to control the trend, up to 10 percent of national deaths will be of tobacco-related diseases in 2020. Under the GATS survey conducted by WHO in 2010, in addition to male smoking, 1.4 percent of Vietnamese women smoke.
Up to 81.8 percent of smokers in Vietnam smoke daily and 26.9 percent use traditional tobacco pipes. The ages for beginners average 19.8 years for men, 23.6 for women and 19.9 in general.
Of the 9,925 respondents aged 15 years old and upwards, 29.3 percent of smokers said they had quit the habit while 67.5 percent of current smokers said they are thinking of quitting smoking one day in the future. As many as 71.3 percent of respondents indicate support for the policy on tax increases for cigarettes.
Mass media warnings on the risks caused by tobacco have caught public attention, according to 91.6 percent of respondents. Vietnam has been advised to strictly prohibit smoking in public places and increase taxes on cigarettes. Bans on relevant advertisements, trade promotions and any kinds of financial support by tobacco companies should also be tightened. The country has also been urged to intensify investment in detoxification services for smokers.
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