The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation jointly held a meeting in Hanoi on May 25 to mark the World No Tobacco Day (May 31) and launch the National No Tobacco Week (May 25-31).

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen affirmed that Vietnam’s joining of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the adoption of the law on prevention and control of tobacco harms demonstrate the country’s commitment and determination to protect people’s health from smoking.

She noted that the ministry has worked closely with other ministries, sectors and socio-political organisations as well as localities to comprehensively implement activities in response to the law.

Xuyen urged all ministries, sectors and organisations continue coordinating with the Ministry of Health to proactively implement the law through communications campaigns on tobacco harms, popularising and strictly enforcing the law’s regulations.

WHO representative said this year, the World No Tobacco Day is themed “Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship”, aiming to help policy makers and community unmask the tobacco industry’s strategy of broadening its market and increase the number of smokers.

Currently, smoking is among the main causes of diseases and deaths in the world. According to WHO, six million people die every year of active smoking, while 600,000 others lose their lives because of passive smoking.

Vietnam has high risks of diseases and fatality due to smoking, with 40,000 tobacco-related deaths every year, the organisation said.-VNA