Smoking detrimental to country’s development

Smoking is not only detrimental to a man’s health but also the country’s socio-economic development.

Illustrative photo

Illustrative photo

The statement was released at a meeting held by the Ministry of Health yesterday in Hanoi in response to the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on May 31 and the national week of No Tobacco Day themed “Smoking is a threat of the nations’ stable growth”. 

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien asserted that fight against smoking in Vietnam achieved lately. In 2007, the rate of Vietnamese teenager smokers  was 3.3 percent and it reduces to 2. 5 percent now.

The proportion of students’ exposure to secondhand smoke  has dropped to 18.8 percent. Additionally, the figure of male smokers in urban areas reduced by 6.5 percent. Passive smokers in public means of transport fell from 34.4 percent to 19.4 percent. 

Though the number of smokers and passive smokers dropped, Vietnam is still listed one of 15 countries with most smokers in the world. By statistics, it showed that around 40 percent of adult men in the country or 16 million people smoke while it is 1.4 percent of female.  

Noticeably, little fines to smokers in public places such as schools, hospitals, theaters, and stations are imposed. Worse, tobacco is sold rampantly nationwide even a kid can buy it from hotels, bars, coffee shops. Moreover, because of low taxation, cheap price, and loose control of selling tobacco, people can easily buy tobacco. According to Lokky Wai, the World Health Organization Representative (WHO) to Vietnam, special consumption tax levied on tobacco makes up only 40 percent of the retail prices in Vietnam, a very low proportion compared to WHO’s recommendation of 75 percent. 

Smoking in the Southeast Asian country and many nations in the globe is alert and smoking is key factor for increased non-communicable diseases. As per WHO, seven million people succumb to tobacco-related diseases in the globe annually.
Meantime, the Ministry of Health’s study shows that cigarette smoke contains about 7,000 chemicals; most of them are detrimental to people’s health causing dangerous diseases; for instance over 200 chemicals in tobacco cause cancer. 

Statistically, the rate of ill people and death relating to tobacco accounts for 12 percent of burden of disease. Worse, tobacco using is one of causes of poverty and badly impacted on the country’s development.
At present, total cost of medical treatment of tobacco-related diseases including lung cancer, respiratory cancer, stroke,  coronary thrombosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary is more than VND23 trillion a year. Moreover, through survey, Vietnamese adults spend VND 30 trillion a year to buy tobacco.

Visible consequences of smoking is detrimental to the country’s growth and to people’s health; accordingly, related agencies should encourage young people stop smoking to keep fitness and protect their relatives. The government and relevant agencies should increase tax on tobacco and tighten control of business, advertising and supervision of smoking in public places. Harsh penalties should be issued to deter people from smoking in public places.

By KHANH NGUYEN – Translated by UYEN PHUONG

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