More than 100,000 people die each year from cancer in Vietnam, and medical experts believe the fatality rate will rise because more and more young people are starting to smoke.
Vietnam is among the cheapest places in the world to buy cigarettes, with one packet costing as little as VND10,000 (US$0.4).
Doctors describe the price as way too low and are urging the government to rethink the cost of cigarettes by insisting on a price rise and adding tax.
教授兼越南最大癌症治療中心K醫院的院長Tan Van Thuan說道：「我們認為越南菸品價格比起其他國家真的太低了。」
“We think that the price of cigarettes in Vietnam is too cheap compared to many other countries,” said Professor Tran Van Thuan, director of Hospital K, Vietnam’s largest cancer medical centre.
“We believe that besides educating people about the harmful effects of cigarettes, we need to raise taxes and increase the price so that smokers not only see the harmful effects of cigarettes to themselves, their families and others, but also hesitate to spend money on them. Only then can the prevention of tobacco harm be effective.”
According to Tran, Vietnam has around 165,000 new cases of cancer each year with 115,000 people dying every 12 months from the disease.
Cancer fatalities are ten times higher than the number of people killed in traffic accidents. The director believes there are many reasons for the large number of cancer patients.
“Cigarettes alone account for more than 30 per cent of human cancer cases,” he added. “Young people think it’s cool. At first, young people start smoking to try and be like adults. They smoke, and then become addicted to cigarettes.”
Whether you are in a bar or a restaurant, or even just on the side of the road, in Vietnam, you are never too far away from a thuoc lao (black tobacco) pipe, or bamboo hookah.
Made mainly from pieces of bamboo, these pipes can be seen, and more often than not heard through the gurgling noises they make, across the country.
From downtown Hanoi, to the mountainous regions of the north, you will find men young and old passing around pipes.
By Viet Nam News (ANN) and The China Post