E-cigarette use on the rise: Expert
Vietnam has seen certain achievements made in tobacco harm prevention and control but challenges continue to emerge, including the increasing trend of smoking e-cigarettes, Associate Professor and Dr Luong Ngoc Khue has said.
At a meeting with partners of the Bloomberg Initiative in Hanoi on January 19, Khue, who is also Vice Chairman of the National Medical Council and Director of the Fund for Tobacco Harm Prevention and Control, highlighted encouraging outcomes after seven years of implementing the law on prevention and control.
A decline has been recorded in smoking in public places like schools, offices, and public transport; a behaviour subject to increasing objections from the community. Smoking is now almost never seen at meetings, weddings, or funerals.
Many non-smokers have also recognised their right to have their health protected and spoken out to remind others not to smoke in places where it is banned, Khue said.
Pointing out new challenges, he cited the results of a 2020 survey on tobacco use in 34 cities and provinces as showing that the rate of e-cigarette use among adults is increasing, from 0.2 percent in 2015 to 0.7 percent last year, and was 1.2 percent among males in 2020, up from 0.4 percent in 2015.
A student health survey conducted in 2019 revealed that 2.6 percent of students aged between 13 and 17 use e-cigarettes.
Meanwhile, the expert added, tobacco manufacturers provide insufficient or incorrect information about next-generation tobacco products, including heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes, misleading users, especially young people, into thinking that these products are less harmful than normal cigarettes and help people quit.
Inspection and punishment of those committing violations have been carried out relatively well in recent years but not frequently enough due to a shortage of resources, Khue added.
At the meeting, he called upon international organisations to continue supporting the Fund for Tobacco Harm Prevention and Control to ramp up measures to minimise tobacco harm in Vietnam, such as hiking tobacco taxes, boosting the management of tobacco retailing, increasing communications about related harm, promoting support for nicotine addiction treatment, and stepping up the examination of compliance with the law on tobacco harm prevention and control.
Khue also expressed his appreciation of the assistance and contributions from Bloomberg Philanthropies, while sympathising with people in the US for what they have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bloomberg Initiative to reduce tobacco use, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is financing efforts to eradicate and monitor tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, India, and Indonesia. It seeks to minimise the practice via coordination with partner organisations, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the CDC Foundation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and the World Health Organisation./. VNA
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