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Strengthening the implementation of the tobacco control law effectively Update 23-06-2020 10:27
Vietnam is one of the countries facing a rapid increase in dangerous diseases such as lung cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and tobacco is identified as one of the main causes of these diseases. The Ministry of Health has just sent a document about the cooperation in strengthening the implementation of the law on tobacco control and responding to the World No Tobacco Day to the People’s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the central government.

The World Health Organization selects the theme of “Package cigarettes with plain packaging”. Plain packaging is used to reduce the promotion on the packaging of tobacco products. However, the communication on tobacco harm prevention and control in Vietnam at present is continuing to promote the implementation of the law on tobacco control and build a smoke-free environment. Therefore, besides carrying out communication activities on the theme of the “Smoke-free” World Day communication activities have still focused on strengthening the implementation of the law on tobacco control and creating a smoke-free environment.

The Ministry of Health organized a communication campaign to promote the implementation of the law on tobacco control. The Ministry of Health continued to request the People’s Committees of provinces and cities to continue directing departments and agencies to promote their dissemination of the contents of the law on tobacco control and propaganda information on banned behaviors in the tobacco control law such as advertising, promotion, marketing of tobacco under any forms; sales of cigarettes at the places where smoking is banned; promotion of the dissemination of propaganda information on health and economic losses due to tobacco use. Besides, localities have established inter-sector inspection teams to inspect the implementation of the law on tobacco control; carried out activities in response to the World No Tobacco Day – May 31 and the National Tobacco-Free Week (from May 25 to May 31). According to the Steering Committee for “Renewing style and spirit of service of health workers towards the satisfaction of patients”, hospitals must regularly check, inspect and supervise their officials and civil servants’ in the implementation.

Launching a campaign in response to the World No Tobacco Day in Dong Nai province

Tobacco smoke is becoming a threat to human health. Every year in Vietnam, there are about 40,000 people dying from tobacco-related disease, a 3 fold compared with the number of deaths caused traffic accidents. One survey found that 60% of Vietnamese children aged 13-15 years were exposed to passive smoking at home. Also, lung cancer caused by smoking is the highest cancer in men and is ranked the 4th in women. Tobacco smoke has been classified as a level-1 cancer substance by the International Agency for Research on Cancer or IARC at the World Health Organization or WHO. Tobacco smoke has around 4,000 chemicals including 40 substances classified as carcinogen like nicotine, carbon oxide, tar, benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia, acetone, arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, and so on.

These substances with just a little amount can cause cancer and are completely harmful even if it is only a small quantity. Tobacco smoke also affects the entire nervous system, blood vessels and endocrine and cause cardiovascular diseases and memory loss. Also, tobacco causes about 25 different diseases for smokers, especially many dangerous diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, which affect fetus if a pregnant mother smokes or inhales smoke. Other risks due to the effects of cigarette smoke on the reproductive process such as reducing the average fetal weight of about 200g, premature birth, postpartum bleeding, and accidental spontaneous abortion have increased the frequency of newborns with congenital anomalies. Also, during the baby’s breast-feeding period nicotine released into milk can affect newborns via milk may affect the newborn.

Smoking not only affects the health and living environment but also households’ income due to the fact that smoking will spend a considerable amount of money to buy cigarettes and this affects households’ income, especially that in families living with difficult conditions.  Particularly, smoking will certainly cause such serious illnesses as mentioned above and the costs of medical care for both smokers and passive smokers in their family are very high and some families fail to handle.

Also, smoking affects the national economy due to the fact that the area of farming land planting food crops has shrunk and given way to growing tobacco plants because of higher profit. There need to be a huge amount of paper to wrap up cigarettes and types of packaging and tobacco rubbish has adversely affected the living environment. The costs of health care for cigarette smokers and the reduction of their workdays are huge losses for a country with a lot of smokers.

In addition, tobacco has the risk of causing fierce fires and forest fires that devastate national resources.

Duy Minh (An Nhien)

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