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Vietnam Wants to Limit Alcohol Sale Hours to Combat Social, Health Issues

The plan is the latest in an effort to address issues arising from late-night drinking. 

Vietnam's health ministry is exploring options to limit the sale of alcoholic beverages at night to tackle the harmful effects of drinking, according to VnExpress.

Three scenarios are currently under consideration, the news source shares. The first would see the sale of alcohol restricted between 11am-2pm and 5pm-10pm, daily. Under the second option, sales would only be permitted between 6am and 10pm. A third option is to construct a different set of rules not contingent on time limits, although the ministry has yet to reveal specific details for this plan.

These options form part of legislation to reduce adverse effects of excessive drinking, which will be reviewed by lawmakers come October. The bill would also prohibit the promotion of drinks with an alcohol concentration exceeding 15%. Lighter beverages would only be advertised from 10pm to 6am.

It is expected that the plans will undergo extensive public scrutiny, as Bao Van Hoa reports in Vietnamese.

"These proposals have been released for public consultation, and the plan which carries a majority of positive reviews will be considered and modified accordingly by the ministry," explained Dr. Nguyen Huy Quang, a legal advisor to the ministry.

"Many countries have experienced success in regulating licensed venues and placing time limits on sales. For instance, it is limited to only lunch and dinner hours in Thailand. Others place a curfew from 10pm or 11pm with exemptions for selected locations," the official added. 

The ministry is convinced that the draft law will be instrumental in their objective of strengthening health and safety in the country, Suc Khoe & Doi Song reports.

"Seventy percent of our population is affected in some way, directly or indirectly, by drinking," Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Hoang Long told the news source. "The damage drinking causes far outweighs its economic value. It ranks 5th out of the 15 leading risks to health and is a known cause of traffic incidents, mental disorders, liver failure, cardiovascular problems and cancer, among others."

VnExpress shares that Vietnam spends roughly US$3.4 billion on alcohol every year, while the World Health Organization estimates that 40% of the country's traffic accidents are related to drinking.


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