Anti-smoking law struggles to address problems

by TVT401 July 2016 Last updated at 18:04 PM

photo: VOV
photo: VOV

VTV.vn - The Law of Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms has been in effect for 3 years. However, nearly 90% of cigarette retailers in Vietnam are violating regulations regarding cigarette advertising and displays.

Studies show that the promotion of tobacco greatly increases the number of smokers, especially youngsters.

The cigarette seller is turning the side of the glass cabinet after the inspection officials left. Many other retailers are given these cabinets for free by cigarettes firms, without knowing that they are breaking the law.

Nguyen Trong Nghia, cigarette seller, Cao Lanh Market, Dong Thap Province said: "If I don’t put some of their cigarette packs on display, they will take back the glass cabinet. I don’t know much about the regulation of cigarette display either".

Nguyen Thi Hong Phuoc, resident, Cao Lanh City, Dong Thap Province said: "They just put cigarette packs on display, it can’t be breaking the law".

Inspections of 1,500 cigarette retailers in 10 cities and provinces showed that nearly 90% violated the regulations concerning cigarettes advertisement and promotion. Cigarette manufacturers changed the pack designs and categorised their products to circumvent the law.

Nguyen Viet Anh, chief of Inspection Commission, Cao Lanh City, Dong Thap Province said: "Public awareness of the regulation is improving, but slowly".

According to Law of Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms, cigarette retailer is not allowed to display more than one pack of a cigarette brand. However, not many cigarette sellers are aware of the regulation.

Dr. Le Thi Thanh Huong, Hanoi School of Public Health said: "If we just confiscate the cabinets from the seller on the streets, cigarette companies will just give them new ones. I think we need to make the cigarette firms abide by the rules to solve the problem for good".

In 2015, 400 individuals and groups paid just 9,000 US dollars fines for violating the law. Fining one cigarette seller alone is complicated as it requires 2 meetings and a number of different agencies. According to WHO, the complete prohibition of cigarette advertisement and promotion would help cut the number of smokers in the world by 0.8%, and in Vietnam by 300,000 each year.

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