E-cigarette use among teens on the rise in Vietnam

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 8, 2023
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HANOI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The prevalence of e-cigarette use among Vietnamese teens has increased in recent years as among 13-15 year olds, 3.5 percent were reported to use e-cigarettes last year, up from 2.6 percent in 2019, Vietnam News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health noted a concerning uptake of e-cigarettes, particularly among adolescents and young adults with about seven in 100 aged between 15 and 24 using e-cigarettes.

Despite a slight reduction of people who smoked tobacco in 2022, down 0.8 percent from 2015, Vietnam is ranked third among Southeast Asian countries with the highest smoking prevalence, only after Indonesia and the Philippines, according to the Ministry of Health.

In Vietnam, almost one in two adult males is currently smoking. As a result, nearly 34.5 million non-smokers are exposed to second-hand smoking at home, as well as in public areas like restaurants, cafe/bars, hospitals, schools and workplaces, said the World Health Organization (WHO), estimating that about 40,000 people in Vietnam die each year from smoking-related diseases.

Vietnamese people spend nearly 49 trillion Vietnamese dongs (2 billion U.S. dollars) annually on tobacco, the Ministry of Information and Communication announced.

Health officials cited low cost as the motivator for smoking, saying that Vietnam's tobacco tax is among the lowest in the Southeast Asia region, only higher than Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

WHO Representative Angela Pratt said that cigarettes in Vietnam are so cheap that prices are not an obstacle for young people in developing a smoking habit.

She suggested that higher taxes would be the quickest and most efficient solution to the problem, given the fact that the tobacco tax rate in Vietnam is 35.6 percent of the retail price compared to the world average of 56 percent and WHO recommendation of 70 percent.

The Ministry of Finance is seeking public consensus on raising the special consumption tax on tobacco, along with beer, alcohol, and sweetened drinks, saying that the levy would help the country tackle health issues.

After the ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004, Vietnam launched the National Strategy on Tobacco Control in 2013, setting the target of reducing the male smoking rate to 39 percent by 2020.

With rising popularity of e-cigarettes and new-generation tobacco products which, as the WHO said, "contain high levels of nicotine and addictive substances," Vietnam is now faced with additional challenges in its fight against smoking. Enditem

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