An anti-smoking awareness campaign to fight the damaging effects of smoking was launched in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the harmful effects of both active and passive smoking. The campaign will encourage and motivate people not to smoke in public places in order to reduce the damaging effects of passive smoking.
The campaign had been organized in Hanoi on November 1 by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the Ministry of Health, the country spent up to VND2,304 billion (US$ 109 million) on treating lung cancer, coronary artery disease and obstructive pulmonary disease besides 25 other tobacco-related diseases in people, in 2010 alone.
According to a World Health Organization representative, last year Vietnamese people spent around US$1 billion on buying cigarettes.
The campaign will run from November 1 to December 1. The media is fully supporting the campaign and providing free multimedia promotional material to be shown on TV, pasted on buildings, bus stations, supermarkets and public places.
The campaign also hopes to garner the support of communes and policy-makers in the country.
At the launch ceremony, Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Health Examination and Treatment Department under MOH, said Vietnam is among 15 countries in the world which has the highest number of smokers.
According to a survey conducted by MOH and WHO in 2010, the percentage of Vietnamese male adults who smoke is 47 percent (or 15.3 million of the total population) with 33 million being passive smokers at home and 5 million being passive smokers at their workplace.
40,000 people die of smoking every year, three times more than the number of people dying from road accidents.