UNIATF proposes to raise tax on tobacco in Vietnam

Vietnam should raise tax on tobacco and have more regulation against alcohol consumption, said the United Nations Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) after a tour to the Southeast Asian nation to study real situation of non-communicable diseases.

Because Vietnam is burdened with non-communicable diseases, UNIATF announced Vietnam to have a detailed plan to cope with the situation by applying measures which had been proved to effective.

Among proposed measures of UNIATF, Vietnam should increase special tax on tobacco by at least 70 percent of retail price and strictly impose anti-tobacco law. In addition, Vietnam should soon have regulations against alcohol consumption

These are feasibly evidence-based interventions which help save thousands lives and reduce drastically medical cost in next years of the government carried out fully, said Dr. Nick Banatvala, a senior adviser from WHO Geneva.

Vietnam's United Nations Resident Coordinator Pratibha Mehta, said that prevention of non-contagious diseases is one of Vietnam’s sustainable development goals because the non-communicable diseases caused poverty and increase social inequalities. The United Nations pledged to support Vietnamese government to widen the response system for non-contagious disease.

Non-communicable diseases mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, obesity and chronic respiratory diseases are escalating quickly in Vietnam killing 379,000 deaths each year. Of which, 163,000 cases accounting for 43 percent of deaths are people aged 30 - 70. 

Despite a reduction in the number of male smoking, the rate is still high with 45.3 percent and around 44.2 percent of men consume alcohol drinks at dangerous level.

Overweight and obesity leaped from 12 percent to 16 percent in 5 past five years. Averagely, Vietnamese people consume salt quantity is twice higher than WHO’s proposed quantity. Accordingly, high blood pressure cases are escalating. For instance every five adult people, one has high blood pressure.

UNIATF lauded Vietnam’s strong commitment to increasing access to health care for all people and it has seen great stride yet 25 percent of the population have not had medical insurance.

By Khanh Nguyen – translated by Uyen Phuong

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