New stamp launched on tobacco awareness

On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day 31 May 2018, the Ministry of Information and Communication and the Vietnam Tobacco Control Fund, Ministry of Health jointly released a special stamp to raise awareness on the harms of tobacco.

Produced by the Vietnam Post Corporation, the stamp on the topic of “Tobacco harms prevention and control” serves to raise public awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco to smokers as well as second-hand smokers.

The stamp portrays the contrasting image of a healthy lung not impacted by smoking and that of the lung of a smoker and his family who have been exposed to smoking, with the message “Do not smoke for you and the health of your beloved ones.”

According to Mr Nguyen Minh Hong, Information and Communication Vice Minister, “This stamp and its message will contribute to the National Strategy on Tobacco Control to 2020 and the Tobacco Control Law.”

“Tobacco smoke affects not only smokers’ health but also the health of innocent people next to smokers, the second-hand smokers,” said Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Viet Nam in his speech at the launch of the stamp. “Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke has been shown to cause a 30% increase in the risk of heart diseases in non-smokers.”

Exposure to tobacco smoke can have more dramatic impact on a non-smoker’s body than that of a smoker; hence lower levels of smoke can cause adverse effects on second-hand smokers. Globally, tobacco kills 7.1 million people each year, of which 900 000 are second-hand smokers.

Viet Nam is the country with the third highest number of smokers in ASEAN, with nearly half of adult males smoking cigarette and an estimated 40 000 deaths from tobacco-related diseases each year.

The government of Viet Nam have been proactive in tobacco prevention and control efforts in recent years, including the approval of the Tobacco Control Law, requirement of graphic images illustrating the harmful effects of smoking on cigarette packs, banning tobacco advertisements and promotion, regular mass media communication and the establishment of the Viet Nam Tobacco Control Fund. These efforts have contributed to awareness raising and behaviour change, as seen in the reduction of smoking and passive smoking rates in the country in recent years.

Viet Nam’s achievements in tobacco control were recognized by WHO with the World No Tobacco Day award in 2015. Again, this year, at the Conference on Tobacco or Health held in Cape Town in March 2018, the Ministry of Health won the 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies Award for Global Tobacco Control.

Viet Nam was honoured for its achievements in the monitoring of tobacco use and prevention policies, warnings about dangers of smoking and for the establishment of the Tobacco Control Fund.

The launching of the special tobacco control stamp today is a concrete example of creative and strong communication activity

Dr Kidong Park, WHO Representative to Viet Nam

Despite the progress and achievements made, Viet Nam still needs to take more decisive measures to achieve the goal of the National Strategy on Tobacco Control, which is to reduce male smoking rate to 39% by 2020.

In order to achieve this, WHO recommends the government to take two measures: first, to increase tobacco tax by applying a specific tobacco tax of at least VND 2000 and ideally VND 5000 per pack, which will help reduce the smoking rate and government revenue; and second, to strongly enforce the smoke-free environment regulation.

For more information, please contact:
Ms Trần Thị Loan
Office of the WHO Representative in Viet Nam
Tel.: 84-4-38500100