The Ministry of Health and relevant agencies will launch more communications campaigns on legal documents targeting the building of a non-smoking environment, said Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Health Ministry’s Administration Department of Medical Services.

After two years of implementation, government regulations on curbing smoking have taken little effect, as the habit now kills more than 100 people per day in Vietnam, fourth times higher than traffic accidents. The statistics, though, are yet complete.

In 2013, a law on preventing harmful effects of smoking was issued along with a decree regulating violations and fines in the medical sector imposed on smokers and sellers.

Since then, a pilot non-smoking city model has been launched across big cities including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hue and Hoi An.

However, reluctant law enforcers and a low number of law-abiding citizens have contributed to the negligible overall impact of these regulations.

According to decree 176/ND-CP, individuals who smoke in public spaces or other no-smoking areas will be fined up to 300,000 VND (14 USD). A large number of violators have had to pay nothing, however, as only the Chairmen of local People’s Committee, inspectorates and police have the power to fine them.

Cigarettes are now sold everywhere at relatively cheap prices, and some 15 million Vietnamese are daily smokers, more and more of whom are from the younger generation.

In a recent poll conducted by the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, Vietnam holds a high rate of passive smoking, with 67.6 percent of non-smokers affected at home and 49 percent at work.

Those warning figures have led to another crackdown from the authorities, seen in the recent launch of an intensive publicity campaign on the adverse effects of smoking and a new attempt to boost law enforcement nationwide.

State agencies at different levels have been urged to put anti-smoking on their agenda, and issue bans on smoking in office spaces.-VNA