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November 1, 2018

Increasing tobacco taxes will deliver health and social benefits in Vietnam

New campaign highlights that smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer in Vietnam

(New York, USA) – A new campaign highlighting the benefits of increasing tobacco taxes to reduce the harms of tobacco was launched today by the Vietnam Tobacco Control Fund (VNTCF), Ministry of Health. The campaign features two advertisements: one about a family losing a father and the other, a mother to tobacco-related disease. Vital Strategies provided technical support for the mass media campaign, which will be broadcast through December. The campaign is part of a broader strategy by VNTCF, World Health Organization, the Viet Nam Women’s Union and health advocates to communicate the benefits of increasing tobacco taxes.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey Viet Nam 2015, 45.3% of men and 1.1% of women in Viet Nam use tobacco and VNTCF estimates that smoking claims more than 100 lives every day. According to The Tobacco Atlas, tobacco causes more than a quarter (26.1%) of male deaths and 14.2% of deaths among Vietnamese women, underlining the deadly harm of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. Viet Nam’s rate of tobacco-related deaths and male smoking are higher than the average in comparable countries and leave tens of thousands of Vietnamese families devastated because of tobacco’s harms, including mothers dying from second-hand smoke-related lung cancer. Tax increases would encourage smokers to cut down and quit, help to deter youth from starting to smoke and help to protect women and children from deadly secondhand smoke.

“High tobacco taxes are proven to be the single most effective policy to reduce tobacco use,” said José Luis Castro, Vital Strategies’ CEO and President. “Economic modelling by WHO indicates that raising tobacco taxes by 5,000 VND on every pack of cigarettes could cut male smoking rates in Vietnam by 6.5% and reduce premature deaths related to tobacco by 900,000. As this campaign powerfully states, increasing tax on cigarettes will save lives and families. We commend VNTCF and the Viet Nam Women’s Union for their leadership on this issue.”

Since 2016, the Viet Nam Women’s Union has implemented its “Women build smoke-free homes” campaign, addressing women across the country, to highlight the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure to non-smokers – especially women and children – and promote the right of all Vietnamese people to live in a smoke-free environment. Reducing tobacco use by increasing tobacco taxes would help to deliver the objectives of this campaign and other goals, such as ensuring that a greater proportion of household expenditure is allocated to priorities like better nutrition, education and healthcare, rather than tobacco.

 About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our programs reach into 73 countries and help prevent death and illness from noncommunicable disease, reduce harm caused by environmental factors, and support cities as engines for public health. We consult with governments on issues including restricting junk food marketing to kids, promoting smoke-free laws, improving indoor and outdoor air quality, and strengthening road safety. These are protections that can add up to millions of lives saved. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. Our tobacco control work is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the global Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a public health and tobacco control expert, please contact




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