The Ministry of Health has proposed a road map for the increase of taxation on tobacco, with the aim of reducing consumption.

According to the plan, a special tobacco consumption tax would be imposed at 65 percent in 2015, gradually increase to 105 percent during the 2015-17 period, and reach 145 percent for the next two years. The ministry would also consider tax adjustments in 2020.

As a result, retail prices may rise by 21 percent and 17 percent for the 2015-17 period and the following two years, respectively, higher than the average per-capital income in the periods.

In Vietnam, the tobacco tax currently accounts for 41.6 percent of the retail price, a low rate in comparison to other countries such as France (80 percent), Germany (73 percent) and Australia (60 percent).

Research on tobacco use among young people in Vietnam showed that the smoking rate has increased, especially among youngsters. For example 21.6 percent of smokers are young men aged from 16-24.

The total economic burden caused by five tobacco-related diseases in Vietnam was over 23 trillion VND in 2011, accounting for 0.91 percent of the country’s GDP.

Vietnam ratified the World Health Organisation’s framework convention on tobacco control in 2004 and promulgated the law on prevention and control of tobacco harms in 2012.

On January 25, 2013, the Prime Minister issued a decision approving the national strategy on tobacco harm control and prevention to 2020, which sets out a target of reducing smoking among young people to 18 percent by 2020 from 26 percent at present. The strategy also targets reducing the male smoking rate to 39 percent from 47.4 percent while lowering the female rate to 1.4 percent.-VNA