Vietnamese spend $1 billion on cigarettes each year

Overall, Vietnamese pay about VND 22 trillion ($1.05 billion) for cigarettes per year, reports VietNamNet.

In turn, Vietnam also spends VND 23 trillion ($1.1 billion) each year towards treating the top five out of 25 tobacco-related diseases, according to a study by Health Bridge of Canada and the Hanoi Public Health University from 2010-2011.

To resolve this, officials have proposed increasing tobacco tax to reduce consumption of tobacco in draft amendments to the Law on Special Consumption Tax. It is uncertain this will be effective, because the tax rates are quite low at 70 percent from 2016-2018 and 75 percent beginning in 2019. Amendments to the Law on Special Consumption Tax will be presented to the National Assembly on 3 November and it will be discussed in groups on 4 November.

“It’s like a vicious circle, the poorer people are, the more they smoke, said Dr Pham Thi Hoang Anh, Director of Health Bridge Canada in Vietnam. “They buy cheap cigarettes, which are usually more toxic, which means a higher risk of illness. Also, because of economic difficulties, they often delay examinations, resulting in high cost of treatment.”