More than 45 percent of Vietnamese men smoke cigarettes, and many of them start smoking before the age of 20, according to a Xinhua News Agency story reporting on an anti-smoking conference held in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.
The Vietnam Office of HealthBridge Foundation of Canada, was said to have told Xinhua that the Vietnam segment of a global adult tobacco survey conducted by Vietnamese and foreign agencies had put the over-15 smoking population at 15.6 million, 85.3 percent of whom smoked daily.
The survey found that 75.9 percent of smokers smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day, and 37.6 percent consumed at least 20.
Smokers annually spent about 31 trillion Vietnamese dong (nearly US$1.4 billion) on their habit.
And on average, men started smoking daily at the age of 18.8 years.
In 2010, the World Health Organization estimated that about 48 percent of men and about one percent of women smoked in Vietnam. And, according to the Xinhua story, the organization has projected that the rate will be 47 percent of men and one percent of women by 2025.
Meanwhile, the Ho Chi Minh City-based Vietnam Tobacco Association said that nearly one billion packs of smuggled cigarettes were consumed in Vietnam each year, causing ‘losses’ of about US$450 million to the state budget, and resulting in the loss of one million jobs for farmers and workers in the domestic tobacco industry.