The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization on May 25 jointly organized a meeting in response to ‘World No Tobacco Day’ and launched a tobacco free week, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco consumption and advocating effective policies to so.
The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship’.
At the meeting, Nguyen Thi Xuyen, deputy health minister, said tobacco is one of the leading causes of diseases and deaths in the world.
Poverty and disease related to tobacco consumption is becoming pandemic across the globe. In Vietnam, a ‘No Smoking Week’ has been launched from May 25 to 31.
The deputy health minister also affirmed the country has issued a ban on advertising, marketing and promotion of tobacco products.
On June 18, 2012, at its third session, the 12th National Assembly passed a law against tobacco including prohibition of related advertising, promotion and sponsorships, in a bid to reduce the number of smokers and smoking-related diseases and deaths, said Xuyen.
The Ministry called for organizations, companies and individuals to obey a no smoking ban in offices, educational facilities, hospitals and public places as per the anti-smoking law. In addition, the ministry called for people to build new and fresh working and living environment which would be smoke free so as to live a longer and more healthy life.
Tobacco kills nearly six million people every year, of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers or passive smokers, said Takeshi Kasai, chief representative of the World Health Organization in Vietnam at the meeting. Vietnam as a developing country has a high number of tobacco-related diseases which kill more than 40,000 people in Vietnam each year.
Takeshi Kasai said that this Southeast Asian country should enhance anti- tobacco activities to raise people’s awareness of the harmful effects of smoking and smoking-related diseases.
Right after the meeting, thousand university students in Hanoi rode on bicycles in a rally calling for people to quit smoking.