Want to light up a cigarette in public? Not anymore, say lawmakers in Vietnam.
Yesterday, it was confirmed that Vietnam has passed a law banning smoking in all public places. The law also prohibits tobacco advertising and bans the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18. The law is set to go into effect in May 2013.
High tobacco use is certainly an issue in Vietnam and throughout most of Asia. According to the World Health Organization, 40,000 people die of tobacco-related causes in Vietnam each year. The figure is expected to rise. One in three boys ages 15 – 24 smokes. The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), an anti-smoking group, estimates that there are 15.3 million smokers in Vietnam, and nearly half of all adult males smoke.
The question now is, will this new law have any impact? A similar decree was passed in 2010, banning smoking in public, raising taxes on tobacco and restricting cigarette sales. But the decree was seen to have little effect, as public smoking and cigarette sales remain casual sights in Vietnam.
Rather than pure legislative action, regulation coupled with a greater public health awareness campaign might be the path to go.
Cross-posted at VNHELP‘s blog. To see the original post, click here. VNHELP is nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian and development assistance to Vietnam, focusing on individual and community building by tackling the key education and health needs of Vietnam’s poor.
Image by lanier67 via Flickr (Creative Commons)