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Health ministry, WHO launch campaign on smoke-free restaurants and hotels in Hanoi

The Vietnamese health ministry along with the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Vietnam on April 3 launched a campaign to encourage smoke-free restaurants and hotels in Hanoi.

Addressing the campaign, WHO Representative in Vietnam Kidong Park said every year, 8 million people died from tobacco use around the world.

In Vietnam, 15 million adults smoke while the number of passive smokers is 75 million.

Nearly 40,000 people die each year in the country from tobacco use along with about 6,000 casualties from secondhand smoking, the WHO official said, urging an end to “the deaths of these blameless victims” of passive smoking.

“WHO called upon you to begin this with implementing smoke-free restaurants and hotels, which include simple acts such as placing no smoking signs at visible areas of hotels and restaurants,” the WHO representative told restaurant and hotel owners.

Inspections from law enforcement units would surely result in a higher compliance rate, he added.

Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Health Ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment and Director of the Vietnam Tobacco Control Fund, said a smoke-free tourism environment is an effective way to realise people’s right to breathe clean air.

However, smoke-free measures in hotels and restaurants must be carried out more fully, as most owners are not paying due attention to anti-smoking regulations.

According to a 2020 study conducted by the Vietnam Tobacco Control Fund, the rate of secondhand smoking in these establishments remains high – with 80 percent of customers exposed to smoking in restaurants, and 65 percent in hotels, the Vietnamese health official noted.

About 200 restaurants and hotels in the capital city are expected to join the campaign./.