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Vietnamese Men Among World’s Top Alcohol Consumers: WHO Survey

According to a recent survey, Vietnamese men are among the world’s top alcohol consumers.

The survey, conducted by Vietnam’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), found that 77% of Vietnamese men consume alcohol, reports Tuoi Tre. In comparison, the global average is just 48% of men.

While drinking beer is not a recent development in Vietnamese society, a recent uptick in alcohol consumption has raised concern among public health officials and experts. According to Tran Quoc Bao, an official from the Ministry of Health’s General Department of Preventive Medicine, Vietnam consumed 3.4 billion liters of beer in 2015, a feat the country is set to repeat this year. This is a 50% increase from national alcohol consumption in 2010.

As the number of drinkers rises, officials worry about an increase in health issues related to alcohol consumption. Earlier this week, Ly Tran Tinh, former director of Hanoi Mental Hospital, told a conference of his peers that alcoholism is growing among Vietnamese.

“About 450 to 500 patients are admitted to the infirmary every year to receive treatment for mental illnesses caused by alcohol addiction,” Tinh said, according to the news outlet.

At the conference, which took place on Monday, an unnamed WHO expert pointed to lax policies on alcohol advertising as a contributing factor to the country’s rising alcohol consumption. Some experts even went so far as to suggest that increased rates of consumption could compromise national development.

In response to this issue, Nguyen Huy Quang of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Legal Affairs told reporters that his department is drafting a law which would help to mitigate some of the negative impacts brought on by high rates of alcohol consumption.

“The proposed legislation includes a ban on alcohol sales after midnight, which is a highly debatable proposition and would need more flexibility,” Quang was quoted as saying.

The proposed law, which is also expected to include a ban on alcohol consumption during business hours and lunchtimes, would appear before the National Assembly in May 2018.

[Photo by Quang Dinh via Tuoi Tre]

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