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Ministry of Health proposes restricting hours of alcohol sale

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is discussing regulations to restrict the number of hours to sell alcohol.

At a recent conference on the draft law on alcohol consequences prevention hosted by the MoH, hours of alcohol sales was the main subject of discussion. Therein, three plans have been proposed.

First, alcohol can only be sold from 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 10pm every day, except at international terminals of airports and on tourism and entertainment streets.

Second, alcohol can only be sold from 6am to 10pm every day, except at international terminals and on tourism and entertainment streets.

Third, the hours of alcohol sales will be regulated by the government in necessary cases based on the demand of the draft law.

The MoH will choose the solution with majority votes.

Nguyen Huy Quang, Director of the MoH’s Legal Services Department, said the law aims to control the demand for alcohol, come up with solutions to reduce the consumption of alcohol, tighten the management of alcohol supply, prevent the consequences of alcoholism and improve public health. The draft law is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly in October.

Quang blamed alcohol consumption for the increasing number of traffic accidents among male drivers aged 14 to 49. Thus, to improve traffic safety, the draft law proposes ban on drinking and driving by drivers of all vehicles, including cars, tractors, specialised motorbikes, airplanes, trains and waterways transport.

Regarding other motorbikes, MoH has proposed two plans.

The first one prohibits motorcycle drivers from having an alcohol concentration exceeding 30mg per 100ml blood or 0.15mg per every litre of breath when riding motorcycles. The current regulation stipulates alcohol concentration to not exceed 50-80mg per 100ml blood or 0.25-0.4mg per every litre of breath for motorcycle riders.

The second plan proposes complete ban on alcohol while driving.

According to medical experts, a concentration of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml starts to poison the nervous system.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said up to 70 percent of the Vietnamese were directly or indirectly affected by the drinking problem. He said the consequences of alcohol consumption were much greater than the profit it brought.

“Alcohol is ranked fifth among the top 15 health risk factors leading to traumatic injury, mental disorders, cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease and cancer,” he said.

There are nearly 20 countries that prohibit drivers from drinking and driving and some 20 others that allow an alcohol concentration of up to 20mg per 100ml of blood.