Findings from a survey released on May 5 revealed that 77 percent of Vietnamese people who had seen anti-smoking material oppose being exposed to second hand smoke in public places.

The research was conducted as part of a national mass media campaign by the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Lung Foundation (WLF) to build support for a smoking ban in the workplace, indoor public areas and on public transport.

The figure is 14 percent higher than that of people who had not seen the material. This significant difference shows that more people would support a smoking ban if they had a better understanding of the harmful effects of smoking and passive smoking.

The survey also found that more than 80 percent of smokers said they were very concerned about their own health and that of their family members after seeing the anti-smoking campaign. Seventy-five percent of smokers said that they were more likely to quit.

“Around 50 percent of adults in Vietnam smoke, the equivalent of 17 million people. We should not let more than 60 million people be exposed to second hand smoke,” said Director of Medical Services Administration and Standing Office for Vietnam ’s Steering Committee on Smoking and Health Luong Ngoc Khue.

The campaign, entitled “Cigarettes Are Eating You Alive”, is being channeled via different media such as television, newspapers and posters.

“This campaign used strong imagery to communicate that tobacco smoke harms those who inhale it directly and those who are exposed to it second hand, especially children,” said WLF Senior Vice President of Communications Sandra Mullin.

The campaign aired nationally for five weeks, from December 2009 to January 2010. The ads were shown 245 times across Vietnam and 70 percent of people interviewed recalled seeing the ads. The TV campaign was followed by more than 5,000 posters in provinces across the country, including hospitals, offices and transportation facilities.

The Ministry of Health says around 40,000 Vietnamese people die each year of smoking-related illnesses. Vietnamese people spent more than 730 million USD on cigarettes in 2007./.