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More Than 2,000 People Have Registered Support for National Smokefree Law

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(Hanoi, Viet Nam) – More than 2,000 people have already registered on to pledge their support for the implementation of the new smokefree law, which came into effect on May 1st, 2013. A wave of 10,000 SMS text messages was sent to youth in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to encourage further their support for Viet Nam’s new smokefree law. The SMS wave of texts follows successful Youth Union events in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City to launch a campaign developed by theVietnam Standing Committee on Smoking and Health (VINACOSH) in conjunction with the Youth Union of Vietnam, with technical and financial support from the Bloomberg Philanthropies- United States of America, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (TFK) and the World Lung Foundation (WLF).

The new law bans smoking in health facilities, schools, kindergartens and child entertainment venues and in all other indoor public places including restaurants, workplaces and public transportation.

Events held in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were attended by hundreds of youths to advocate for 100% smokefree public places. These events, combined with an SMS, online and mass media campaign, have boosted the petition sign-up rate to more than 150 people per day. Youth supporters and concerned citizens are encouraged toregister their support for the law, either by visiting a or texting KKT to 6089.

“We’ve already seen a tremendous response in a short time thanks to the campaign and several successful events, said Associate Professor Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of General Department of Health Service Administration, Director of VINACOSH, Ministry of Health. Mr. Tran Anh Tuan- Vice Secretary of Hanoi Youth Union Committee added, “Together our youth can make a significant positive contribution to the country by supporting the law to protect their health and the health of others who would be exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke.”

Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, World Lung Foundation, commented: “Vietnam has an excellent smoke-free law that, if implemented well, will save millions of lives over time. Like the thousands of young people who are voicing their support, we urge Vietnam’s government to move forward quickly to implement the law so adults and youth will be protected from the suffering and diseases caused by secondhand smoke.”

About Tobacco Use in Vietnam

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), 47.4 percentof males and 1.4 percent of females (aged 15 and over) smoke cigarettes in Viet Nam. This means that 15 million adults smoke tobacco. In addition, 73.1 percent of adults report being exposed to secondhand smoke at home while 55.9 percent of workers report secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in indoor workplaces.

According to The Tobacco Atlas, prevalence among youth is lower; 5.9 percent of male students aged 13-15 and 1.2 percent of female students aged 13-15 identify as current smokers. A significant proportion of youth (over 58 percent) are exposed to secondhand smoke in the home and tobacco costs Viet NamUS $ 78 million in direct costs.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of mortality in the world today, and is responsible for more than five million deaths each year—one in ten preventable deaths worldwide. Research has shown that mass media campaigns are one of the most effective means to encourage people to stop smoking. It is one of the World Health Organization’s M-P-O-W-E-R (W=Warn) strategies to reduce tobacco consumption. MPOWER strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner.