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PM urges tightened control over e-cigarettes, HTPs in Vietnam

PM urges tightened control over e-cigarettes, HTPs in Vietnam

Wednesday, May 15, 2024, 16:25 GMT+7
PM urges tightened control over e-cigarettes, HTPs in Vietnam
Students are pictured using e-cigarettes in Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has instructed relevant ministries, agencies, and localities to implement measures aimed at bolstering control over electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes) and heated tobacco products (HTPs) to mitigate their detrimental effects on users’ health.

The directive was outlined in a recent dispatch where PM Chinh noted that efforts in tobacco harm prevention and control in recent years have yielded promising initial outcomes, such as an annual average decrease of 0.5 percent in male cigarette smokers.

Nevertheless, the prevalence of e-cigarettes and HTPs, classified as new-generation tobacco products, has remained complex in the country, with their usage showing a tendency to rapidly escalate, especially among young individuals.

This trend has resulted in adverse health effects on users, according to the dispatch.

The Vietnam News Agency recently cited the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying that more and more evidence shows that e-cigarettes are as harmful to health as traditional cigarettes.

The Ministry of Health had previously cautioned that e-cigarettes and HTPs not only inflict health hazards comparable to traditional cigarettes but also carry the risk of fostering social problems, particularly crimes associated with drugs and other addictive substances.

These substances can potentially be mixed into the ingredients of e-cigarettes or HTPs.

To enhance prevention and control measures against the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and HTPs, the prime minister required the health ministry to intensify public awareness campaigns regarding their detriments and to suggest strategies for better regulatory control of these products, the dispatch said.

PM Chinh assigned the Ministry of Finance to direct the customs authority to strengthen inspections to detect and prevent the illegal transportation of smuggled e-cigarettes and HTPs into Vietnam through border gates, as well as busting rings that smuggle them.

The Ministry of National Defense is required to ask border guard forces to beef up patrols to prevent the smuggling of these products into Vietnam via trails in border areas.

The government leader directed the Ministry of Public Security to deploy forces to discover, arrest, and prosecute individuals and organizations involved in illegally trading and mixing banned substances into e-liquids.

The prime minister emphasized that the Ministry of Industry and Trade must enhance domestic market oversight and rigorously address instances of trafficking, storage, and transportation of e-cigarettes and HTPs.

The Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam Television, Voice of Vietnam, Vietnam News Agency, and the people's committees of the centrally-run provinces and cities are responsible for directing mass media agencies to run more awareness programs on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and HTPs.

PM Chinh also asked the National Steering Committee on Anti-Smuggling, Counterfeit Goods, and Trade Fraud to direct its affiliates in ministries, sectors, and localities to keep track of the implementation of this dispatch.

Authorities in all provinces and cities were instructed to conduct regular inspections and take action against smuggling, transportation, storage, and trade of e-cigarettes and HTPs that have not been authorized for trading or use in Vietnam.

PM Chinh assigned his deputy Tran Hong Ha to take charge of directing the implementation of the dispatch.

The health ministry recently warned that at least 40,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases annually in Vietnam, including stroke, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer as the main causes.

Citing data from the WHO, the ministry said at least 39 countries and territories around the world have currently imposed a ban on e-cigarettes while HTPS are being prohibited in at least 18 countries and territories.

Currently, five ASEAN countries, namely Thailand, Singapore, Laos, Brunei, and Cambodia, have forbidden both e-cigarettes and HTPs.

To date, e-cigarettes have been put under control in 88 countries, including 27 EU countries, while HTPs have been regulated in 71 countries, including the same 27 EU nations, the ministry said.

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Vinh Tho - Ngoc An / Tuoi Tre News

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