Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”
(New York, NY and Hanoi, Vietnam) – – Vietnam's Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO) and World Lung Foundation (WLF) announced today the results of a national mass media campaign to build support for the ban on smoking in indoor workplaces, indoor public places, and public transport. A post-campaign evaluation survey showed that 77% of Vietnamese people who saw the ads oppose being exposed to secondhand smoke in public places . This figure is 14% higher than that of people who did not see the mass media campaign (63%).
This significant difference suggests that more people support the smoking ban if they have a better understanding about the health harms of smoking and secondhand smoke. According to the survey, more than 80% of smokers said that seeing the ads made them concerned about their own health and the effect of tobacco smoke on their families' health. Three out of four smokers who saw the ads said that they were more likely to quit .
Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of Medical Services Administration and Standing Office for the Vietnam Steering Committee on Smoking and Health (VINACOSH) said: “In Vietnam, 50% of male adults smoke, which is the equivalent of 17 million smokers. It is obvious that the number of smokers is lower than that of non-smokers. We should not let more than 60 million people be exposed to secondhand smoke. We are very pleased to see raised awareness of the public towards tobacco harms, and this support will be the basis for more comprehensive and stronger tobacco policies in Vietnam, to protect current and future generations from tobacco harms.”
“This campaign used strong imagery to communicate that tobacco smoke harms those who inhale it directly and those who are exposed to it secondhand, especially children,” said Sandra Mullin, WLF Senior Vice President of Communications. “We congratulate the Ministry of Health and the Vietnamese government for running this campaign, and we look forward to future efforts to reduce the tobacco epidemic in Vietnam.”
The “Cigarettes are Eating You Alive” campaign was developed jointly by the Ministry of Health, WLF, WHO, and other Vietnamese partners. The campaign aired nationally for five weeks, from December 2009 to January 2010. The campaign messages were spread through television, posters and the press. After the TV campaign, more than 5,000 posters were posted in provinces across the country, including hospitals, offices, and education and transportation facilities. The ads were shown 245 times across Vietnam, and 70% of people interviewed recalled seeing the campaign.
The campaign consisted of two TV commercials broadcasted across national and provincial stations. The first ad showed in graphic detail how cigarettes damage the lungs, heart and brain by causing stroke. A second ad showed that children exposed to cigarette smoke suffer more respiratory infections, ear infections, asthma—even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.