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77 percent of Vietnamese men are drinkers: WHO survey

Vietnam has been considered one of the world’s top consumers of alcoholic beverages with 77 percent of its men drinking beer and other kinds of alcohol, according to a recent survey.

f6o9snc2Findings of the latest research carried out by Vietnam’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization were announced at a conference on Monday, referring to the hike of alcohol usage and its related crimes and illnesses in the Southeast Asian nation.

According to Tran Quoc Bao, an official from the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, 77 percent of Vietnamese men drink beer and other alcoholic beverages.

This ranks men in Vietnam among the world’s top alcohol consumers compared to the average figure of 48 percent across the globe, Bao elaborated.

About 3.4 billion liters of beer was consumed throughout the Southeast Asian nation in 2015, up 50 percent against that in 2010, the official continued.

Nearly 44 percent of male drinkers in Vietnam used alcohol at an alarming rate in 2015 while the ratio was only 25 percent in 2010, he added.

Reports at the conference also showed that Vietnam was ranked second in Southeast Asia, 10th in Asia, and 29th in the world in terms of alcohol consumption.

The excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks in the Southeast Asian country is also evidenced by a drastic increase in alcohol-induced mental disorders, Ly Tran Tinh, former director of the Hanoi Mental Hospital, said at the meeting.

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

“The youngest among the patients was only 15 years old,” he added.

Aside from people with a poor education, those with a better one have also increasingly become alcoholics in recent years, according to the former director.

A WHO expert even questioned whether Vietnam is a startup country, as the government wants it to be, or a drunk nation considering the statistics, and expressed his concern over the loose policies on beer advertising.

Stricter policies?

Some stated that national development would be hampered if no certain limitations are imposed on the use of alcohol.

Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the event, Nguyen Huy Quang, head of the Department of Legal Affairs under the Ministry of Health, a draft law on the prevention of alcohol’s negative impacts would be submitted to the lawmaking National Assembly in May 2018.

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

Another expert recommended restrictions on alcohol use during business hours and lunchtime.

Meanwhile, Pham Thi Hoang Anh, director of HeathBridge Canada in Vietnam, proposed a higher tax on alcoholic beverages.

According to Tran Thi Thang, Quang’s deputy, there are many legal loopholes in the management of business operations and advertising relating to alcohol.

“The WHO has called on nations to establish policies to minimize the harmful effects of ethanol since 1979,” she added.

28 Sep. 2016

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