Smoking in Vietnam - what you need to know
Vietnam's smoking culture has had a significant impact on other countries of the world. It is quite a common phenomenon in Vietnam. And so much so that it can be considered an integral part of the culture.
Exchanging cigarettes among the Vietnamese is tantamount to shaking hands. However, the government considers this a real threat and is taking active steps to curb the spread of smoking.
Let's take a closer look at Vietnamese law, the modern view of smoking, and the areas of the country where smoking is prohibited.
Tobacco Prevalence in Vietnam
Cigarettes are very easy to find, and they are quite cheap here. Packs are sold on almost every corner and in every store. In large cities like Ho Chi Minh City, cigarettes are available in all grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, and kiosks.
There are approximately 50% men and 5% women smokers in this country. According to the latest statistics, there are about 18 million smokers in Vietnam and 47 million people who do not smoke but have to be in the presence of smokers all the time.
Consequences of smoking
According to data provided by the Vietnam Center for Health, Health Education and Communication, tobacco smoking (both active and passive) takes about 40,000 lives each year. More than a hundred people die a day. Experts from the center also estimate that 10% of the country's population will die by 2030 if the situation does not improve.
Thuoc Lao - traditional Vietnamese tobacco
Tuc Lao is a popular historical form of smoking in Vietnam. The leaves of Tuc Lao or tobacco with its extremely rich and strong odor are the main ingredient in Vietnamese tobacco. Tuc Lao translates as "the drug of Laos." It can be chewed or smoked through a pipe.
It is said that the effect of tobacco stays for a few seconds. In addition, you get very dizzy. Another common side effect of Tuc Lao is nausea. The popularity of traditional Vietnamese tobacco has recently declined because of its serious health risks. It is considered more dangerous than regular cigarettes.
Cases of sudden respiratory failure and death from suffocation have been reported. However, Tuc Lao remains popular among certain populations, especially in rural areas of central and northern Vietnam.
Attitudes towards smoking in Vietnam
Smoking is part of Vietnamese culture. The exchange of cigarettes is as common as common greetings. Many famous historical figures were smokers. Smoking is perceived as a sign of commitment to a cultured society, especially among young people. If a man smokes, he is perceived as masculine and educated.
Where is this allowed?
- In the countryside and provinces, travelers are allowed to smoke everywhere.
- However, in urban areas of the country, public awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke is growing.
- Most often smoking is prohibited in unventilated rooms and public places.
- Separate smoking rooms are available in most establishments, such as hotels, airports, and universities. Restaurants and bars are usually located in rooms with access to the street, so smoking is not prohibited.
Forbidden territories in Vietnam
- Smoking is strictly prohibited in places such as gas stations, hospitals, childcare facilities, and public transportation.
- In educational institutions, such as universities and colleges, smoking is only prohibited indoors.
- Such restrictions are in place to prevent fires, as well as to preserve public health.
- There will be fines for those who break the rules and light a cigarette in one of these places.
- Smoking is not permitted in most airports.
- However, for those who smoke, there are special separate rooms in airports.
Rules and Laws Regarding Smoking in Vietnam
- The sale of tobacco products is not regulated by law in Vietnam as in other countries. Consequently, cigarettes are sold freely in all stores.
- Nevertheless, advertising and promotion of tobacco products is prohibited, except at special points of sale where the products are placed.
- The packaging and labeling of tobacco products is subject to certain laws.
- 50% of the package should take a warning related to the health hazards of tobacco.
- The content of cigarettes is not regulated by law.
- The sale of tobacco products through vending machines is prohibited.
- It is also forbidden to sell tobacco products over the Internet.
- Smoking is officially allowed in Vietnam from the age of 18.
- It is prohibited to sell tobacco products to persons under the age of 18.
- In Vietnam it is allowed to use electronic cigarettes and vape.
- Moreover, there are no restrictions on the advertising, promotion, sale and packaging of e-cigarettes.
Penalties for Violation
If you break one of Vietnam's laws related to smoking, you will have to pay a fine of 100 thousand to 300 thousand Vietnamese dong.
Measures taken by the Vietnamese government to suppress smoking
In an attempt to take control of the smoking epidemic, the Vietnamese government has ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Attempts are being made to reduce supply and demand for tobacco products.
The government also suppresses advertising and sponsorship of the industry. In 2013, Vietnam launched its National Tobacco Control Strategy to reduce smoking among youth and adults. The government also imposed taxes and price controls to reduce the consumption of tobacco products.
The ease and availability of cigarettes in Vietnam, along with people's positive attitudes toward smoking, are difficult to overcome. However, despite its prevalence, the country's government is committed to improving public health. This is a long way to go, and there is still a long way to go. Until then, smoking will flourish. In general, smoking is welcomed more in Vietnam than in some other countries.