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Vietnam Remains Among Countries With Most Smokers in the World

Though Vietnam has made a dent in its tobacco fixation, the country still has one of the highest rates of smoking in the world.

After a decade of anti-smoking measures – including the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – smoking rates in Vietnam have decreased but remain high, writes Saigon Giai Phong.

While rates of secondhand smoking at home are down – the number has dropped from 73.1% in 2010 to 59.9% in 2015, according to a joint study conducted by the WHO, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Vietnam's General Statistics Office and the Medicine University in Hanoi – roughly 40,000 people die of smoking-related diseases a year. At Hanoi's National Cancer Hospital, 96.8% of lung cancer patients are smokers.

According to Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, who heads up the Fund for Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms under the Ministry of Health, 47.4% of adult males in Vietnam are smokers, along with 1.4% of adult females, reports Tuoi Tre. The health official put Vietnam's total number of smokers at around 15.3 million.

Each year, according to Saigon Giai Phong, Vietnamese spend VND14 trillion (US$624.26 million) on smoking – though past reports have put that figure as high as VND22 trillion (US$980.98 million) – and VND23 trillion (US$1.02 billion) on smoking-related diseases. If Vietnam's smoking habits continue, health experts predict the death toll from smoking-related diseases could rise to 70,000 a year by 2030.

[Photo via Flickr user Staffan Scherz]

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