The seminar (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnam Journalists Association, in collaboration with Canada’s HealthBridge Foundation in Vietnam, held a seminar on the role of the press in preventing the negative impact of alcohol abuse, in Hanoi on January 8.

Speaking at the event, HealthBridge Vietnam Director Pham Thi Hoang Anh analysed the impact of wine and beer abuse on poverty, and the characteristics of families with regular use of alcohol.

According to a survey of the foundation, 57.72 percent of Vietnamese families drink beer and wine regularly, with the country spending 16.4 trillion VND (721.6 million USD) annually on alcohol. The money, if used buying rice, could feed nearly 21 million people a year.

Therefore, Anh stated that intensifying communications on the negative impact of wine and beer, on public health and the economy is essential, especially in rural and ethnic-inhabited areas.

Increasing taxes imposed on alcohol drinks and their prices has been proved effective in reducing alcohol consumption around the world, she said; adding that the prevention of alcohol abuse needs to be included in gender equality and poverty reduction programmes.

According to the World Health Organisation, alcohol is a direct reason for 30 diseases and indirectly causes 200 other diseases and trauma.

Vietnam is among a few countries seeing a rise in consumption of alcoholic beverages. It is now the biggest beer consuming market in Southeast Asia and the third in Asia, after Japan and China.

Alcohol is a major killer of Vietnamese men aged from 15-49. It is also a cause for 33.7 percent of domestic violence cases in the country.

At the seminar, participants suggested that Vietnam’s laws related to alcoholic beverages should be amended, to create a better legal framework - to help prevent the negative consequences of excessive drinking on public health, and society in general.-VNA