Vietnamese annually spends 1.4 bln USD on smoking

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-11 16:49:06|Editor: xuxin
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HANOI, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Tobacco smokers in Vietnam spend nearly 1.4 billion U.S. dollars on smoking each year, and cigarette smuggling annually causes losses of some 450 million dollars to the state budget, local and foreign organizations said on Thursday.

According to the global adult tobacco survey in Vietnam conducted by relevant Vietnamese and foreign agencies, including the Health Ministry, the country has 15.6 million smokers aged more than 15, with 85.3 percent smoking daily, who annually spend some 31,000 billion Vietnamese dong (around 1.36 billion dollars) on their habit, the Vietnam Office of HealthBridge Foundation of Canada, told Xinhua on Thursday.

Of the Vietnamese smokers, 75.9 percent smoke at least 10 cigarettes or half of a packet, and 37.6 percent consume at least a packet every day, the foundation said, adding that local men start smoking daily at the average age of 18.8.

"According to our separate survey, every year, total medical treatment and relevant costs for local smokers who fall ill or die of one of five most common diseases caused by smoking, including stroke, coronary artery disease, and lung cancer amount to 23,139 billion Vietnamese dong (over 1 billion dollars)," said the Vietnam Office's project officer Nguyen Hanh Nguyen.

According to statistics from Hanoi-based K Hospital, which specializes in treating cancer patients, among lung cancer patients, 96.8 percent smoke cigarettes, 3.2 percent do not, she said.

In 2010, the World Health Organization estimated that about 48 percent of men and around 1 percent of women smoked in Vietnam. The organization has projected the rate, by 2025, to be approximately 47 percent for men and 1 percent for women in the country, whose total population currently stands at 95 million.

Nearly 1 billion smuggled cigarette packets are consumed in Vietnam each year, causing losses of some 450 million dollars to its state budget, and resulting in losses of 1 million jobs for farmers and workers in the domestic tobacco industry, according to the Ho Chi Minh City-based Vietnam Tobacco Association.

Some local experts proposed stricter penalties for tobacco smugglers and smuggled cigarette transporters. According to them, anyone who transports 500 smuggled packets or more should be brought to court, instead of at least 1,500 packets currently.