Hanoi agencies on May 31 signed a commitment with the municipal Health Department to prevent smoking in offices in response to World No Tobacco Day and National No Tobacco Week.

Earlier, many units urged their staff to say no to tobacco, created smoking zones for smokers at offices and encouraged them to use alternative products.

Hospitals in the city have been urged to enforce no-smoking regulations at public places among staff, patients and their relatives, while intensifying the prevention and control of tobacco harms and applying fines.

Vietnam ratified the WHO framework convention on tobacco control in 2004 and promulgated the law on prevention and control of tobacco harms in 2012, with a determination to protect local people’s health.

Research on tobacco use among Vietnamese youth has shown that the smoking rate has increased. For example 21.6 percent of the nation’s smokers are young men aged from 16-24.

The total economic burden caused by the five main tobacco-related diseases in Vietnam was over 23 trillion VND (1.08 billion USD) in 2011, equivalent to 0.91 percent of the country’s GDP.-VNA