Smoking rate among men falls in 2020 hinh anh 1The smoking rate among men in many provinces and cities last year falls compared to 2017. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - The smoking rate among men in many provinces and cities last year fell compared to 2017 as a result of agencies’ efforts to implement tobacco harm-prevention programmes, Dr Phan Thi Hai, deputy head of the Tobacco Harm Prevention Fund, said at a conference held in HCM City last week.

The smoking rate among men in HCM City fell to 44.5 percent in 2020 from 46.7 percent in 2017, and dropped by 7.5 percent in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong and by 7.4 percent in the northern province of Phu Tho.

The rate of exposure to secondhand smoke also fell at public sites such as restaurants, state offices and health facilities.

According to the Fund’s statistics, staff at 1,560 state offices, 3,778 kindergartens, 3,577 primary schools, 2,502 secondary schools and 1,010 high schools have carried out regulations on banning smoking.

More than 200 transport companies have banned staff from smoking at the workplace and in coaches.

Workers at 4,442 factories have also strictly complied with the ban at their workplace.

Around 508 hospitals at provincial and district levels have banned staff and patients from smoking.

Moreover, 305 restaurants and 400 hotels nationwide have banned smoking.

Representatives of steering committees for tobacco harm-prevention at ministries and provinces as well as cities nationwide said they had carried out many education and communication programmes on smoking.

In the northern province of Bac Ninh, the Department of Education and Training has worked with the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on carrying out communications about the harm caused by tobacco and improving the education environment by reducing smoking by staff and teachers.

Limiting tobacco advertisements' influence on students has also been a focus of communication.

Dao Thi Hoai, a teacher at Hoan Son Secondary School in the province’s Tien Du district, said that several students had brought cigarettes to the school to sell to others, and were given advice about the harm caused by doing so.

Nguyen Thi Hien, secretary of the HCM Communist Youth Union at Que Vo High School III, said the school would continue communication activities about the harm caused by tobacco as students were still choosing to smoke outside.

Teachers in the Mekong Delta province of Long An also are concerned about students who choose to continue to smoke outside schools.

Hai of the Tobacco Harm Prevention Fund said that tobacco was sold at many places at cheap prices, and new kinds of tobacco products such as e-cigarettes were being sold. The e-cigarette smoking rate rose 2.6 percent in 2019 from 0.5 percent in 2015.

“So, prevention of smoking, especially e-cigarettes among young people, will be a focus in the upcoming time,” she said.

According to HCM City Police, inspections and fines for violations against the Law on Tobacco Harm Prevention have helped reduce the number of smokers and the harm on the community’s health.

HCM City is one of a number of provinces and cities where the Ministry of Public Security has piloted inspections and fines for these violations.

In 2019, police fined restaurants, hotels and others a total of 168 million VND (7,277 USD) for smoking indoors.

Last year, especially because of COVID-19, police issued warnings and asked passengers at restaurants and hotels not to smoke./.