Vietnamese women and children constantly exposed to passive smoking

Tuesday, 2018-06-26 16:13:02
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Two thirds of Vietnamese women are exposed to second-hand smoke at home.
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NDO - An estimated half of children between 13-15 and two thirds of women are exposed to second-hand smoke in Vietnamese families.

The figures were revealed at a workshop on the impact of cigarette tax hikes on the health of women and children on June 26.

According to the Vietnamese Women’s Union, infants and young children who frequently inhale tobacco smoke are more likely to suffer from pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, which leads to reduced lung development and raises the risk of sudden death.

Meanwhile, pregnant women’s exposure to smoke could alter foetal development and increase the risks of miscarriage, premature births or underweight babies.

A survey by the union shows that the Vietnamese spend VND31 trillion each year on tobacco while the total costs for treatment and loss of work as a result of tobacco-related diseases amount to VND24 trillion.

Vice Chairman of the Women’s Union, Tran Thi Huong, stated that the duty on cigarettes in Vietnam accounts for 35% of the retail price while the proportion recommended by the World Health Organisation is at least 70%.

Therefore, Huong emphasised that raising cigarette taxes is one of the most effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

“Higher cigarette prices will help reduce consumption and cut the number of new smokers, especially among young people and the poor,” Huong said.

According to Phan Thi Hai, Deputy Director of the Fund for the Prevention of Tobacco Harms, the average price of a packet of cigarettes dropped from VND12,700 in 2010 to VND11,819 in 2015, making it easier for smokers to buy and undermining tobacco harm prevention efforts.

Therefore, the Ministry of Health is proposing tax hikes as part of a bill that amends the laws on value added tax, special consumption tax, corporate income tax and personal income tax.