Statement of Dr Kidong Park on the occasion of Smoke-free training workshop

Dr Kidong Park
17 October 2018

It is my great pleasure to join with you today at the training workshop to build capacity for enforcement and strengthen compliance with smoke-free environment regulation jointly organized by Ministry of Police and Ministry of Health.

Tobacco smoking kills people. Tobacco kills up to half of its users, smokers. Tobacco smoking also kills other innocent people, passive smokers who are exposed to the secondhand smoke.

Tobacco smoke contains 7 thousands of chemical, of which 250 are toxic and at least 70 are known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke also contains similar amount of toxic and cancer causing chemicals. Secondhand smoke is the smoke exhaled by a smoker and a smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe, cigar or water-pipe.

Inhaling second-hand smoke, passive smoking, is very harmful. Secondhand smoke causes cancer including lung cancer even in people who have never smoked. Secondhand smoke affects the heart and blood vessels in passive smokers, and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

That is the reason why a law protecting innocent non-smoker from second-hand smoke is needed. In Viet Nam, the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms defines that smoking is banned completely in hospital and schools. In other public places, including hotels and restaurants, smoking is banned in indoor areas. In hotels, designated smoking areas are allowed but they need to have separate ventilation from the smoke-free areas.

In Viet Nam, the prevalence of indoor second-hand smoke exposures in most places significantly declined from 2010 to 2015: home (73.1% to 59.9%), workplace (55.9% to 42.6), and public transportation (34.4% to 19.4%). However, the rate of exposure remained very high at selected places such as restaurants (80.7%).

Therefore, more efforts are needed to strengthen compliance and reduce second-hand smoke exposure. This has to done with a combination of communication and law enforcement.

On communication side, the TC fund, WHO and other partners have implemented various communication campaigns and initiatives. For examples, WHO is currently working with partners to implement the Facebook Respect campaign calling for smokers to respect the law, respect other people health and respect clean indoor environment and to stop smoking indoor.

Still, communication alone is not enough, law enforcement is still needed to help strengthen compliance.

We are very pleased to see the increasing efforts by the Ministry of Police on enforcement side. You are enforcing the law, protect smokefree clean environment and saving lives for the people!

I am also very pleased to see many hotel and restaurant owners and manager participating in the workshop today. Your implementation of smoke-free hotels and restaurant will health ensure compliance with the law, protect health of your hotel staff and customers, and help increase satisfaction for the customers who will enjoy fresh smoke-free environment in your hotel and restaurants. Also, from every country and areas, there is nowhere smokefree environment is causing negative impact for the business. In fact they help generate more customers and better business for the restaurants and hotels.

I look forward to see success stories in implementing smoke-free hotels and restaurants in Hai Phong city and in other cities and provinces throughout Viet Nam!

I wish everyone good health and a successful workshop!

Xin Cam on!