Nine northern and central provinces on July 4 signed a joint commitment to building smoke-free workplace in a bid to curb ill effects of cigarette smoking.

They include northern Nam Dinh, Ha Nam, Thai Binh, Hung Yen, Ninh Binh and Hai Duong provinces, and central Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh.

Representatives from the provincial Labour Federations made the pledge that looks to realise the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harm, at a conference held by the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour and the Ministry of Health in Thanh Hoa province.

To concretise their commitments, the localities plan to intensify communication campaigns to raise local workforce’s awareness of tobacco harms.

According to the office of the health ministry’s tobacco harm prevention programme, Vietnam is one of 15 countries with the highest rate of cigarette smoking in the world.

Up to 47.4 percent of Vietnamese men and 1.4 percent of women are smokers, equivalent to 15 million grown-ups.

Additionally, 33 million non-smokers in Vietnam are exposed to tobacco smoke at home, while 5 million people are passively affected by the smoke at their workplace.

Experts also pointed out a large number of evils of smoking and being exposed to the smoke, naming risks of suffering from life-threatening diseases, losing work capacity, and dying young, among the few.-VNA