The event was attended by more than 100 foreign delegates from smoke-free tourism cities of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, China and Mongolia. It also saw the presence of the Fund for Tobacco Harms Prevention and Control of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office.
Addressing the meeting, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien, member of the management council of the Fund for Tobacco Harms Prevention and Control, said in Vietnam, the building of smoke-free tourism cities began in Hoi An city in 2009, and it has been expanded to some other cities like Ha Long, Hue, Nha Trang, and Hai Phong.
In these cities, smoking has been banned firstly at restaurants, hotels, tourist sites, workplaces, schools and hospitals. Creating a smoke-free tourism environment has helped not only promote their green and beautiful tourism images in foreign visitors' eyes but also protect people's health, he noted.
Tien added aside from famous tourist destination cities, such efforts have also been made across Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of no-smoking signs and posters have been placed at attractions, workplaces, hospitals, and schools. This regulation is also shown on bulletin boards or entrance tickets at tourist sites.
Activities to promote smoke-free cities have also been carried out at cultural, sports and tourism events, including the Asian Beach Games in Da Nang city, the Do Temple Festival in Bac Ninh province, or the Vietnam-Japan cultural exchange in Hoi An.
According to the anti-smoking harms fund's report on the use of cigarettes among adults in Vietnam in 2016, efforts in the work have initially proved effective. The smoking rate dropped from 47.4 percent to 45.3 percent among men and from 1.4 percent to 1.1 percent among women.
The rate of exposure to secondhand smoke reduced considerably from 2010, from 84.9 percent to 80.7 percent at restaurants, from 55.9 percent to 42.6 percent at workplaces, from 54.3 percent to 37.9 percent at universities and colleges, and from 34.4 percent to 19.4 percent on public transport vehicles.
At the meeting, the Fund for Tobacco Harms Prevention and Control pledged continued support for localities to create smoke-free environments by enforcing the smoking ban at public places, stepping up communication activities to raise public awareness, and strengthening inspections.
The 6th SCAN regional meeting aimed to popularize smoke-free tourist destinations, share experience in building smoke-free tourism environments among ASEAN and Asia-Pacific countries, and enhance regional cooperation in the work.
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