The Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Fatherland Front held a conference on November 28 for district officials in southern provinces to explain in detail the law on tobacco harm-reduction that took effect on May 1.

The law prohibits selling tobacco to people under 18 years old. It also requires cigarette manufacturers to include health warnings on the front and back of cigarette packages.

Vietnam has nearly 16 million smokers, and is one of 15 countries with the highest rate of cigarette smoking in the world, according to the Vietnam Steering Committee on Smoking and Health.

Tobacco use is the cause of 40,000 deaths in the country each year, according to the ministry.-VNA