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Vietnam to Ban Advertising for Alcoholic Beverages Stronger Than 15%

According to a proposal, beverages with higher than 15% alcohol content would be banned from promotions of any kind. Advertisements of weaker drinks would also face strict regulations.

Tran Thi Trang, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Health's Legal Department, explained the proposed changes at a meeting on May 25.

“Vietnam has been considered an interesting beer market. But we currently do not have strict regulations to restrict the consumption among children and teenagers, who now have all-time access to beer advertisements,” said Trang, as reported by VnExpress.

Dr. Nguyen Huy Quang, the head of the same department, shared a similar concern. In an interview with Kinh Te Do Thi, he mentioned that 85 government documents deal with alcohol, but the 33 that deal with advertising regulations only cover production and sales.

“There is a considerable vacuum when it comes to regulations strictly pertaining to the detrimental effects of alcohol,” Dr. Quang said in Vietnamese.

Over the last five years, Vietnam’s average annual alcohol consumption has increased significantly, from 3.8 to 6.6 liters, while the world average has remained stable, at around 6.1 liters. The number of adolescent consumers has also risen by 10%, contributing to a 74% increase in the nation’s rate of alcohol consumption over the last 15 years.

Vietnam now has the second-highest rate of alcohol consumption in Southeast Asia, and this is impacting public health. It is claimed that 40% of road crashes occur as a consequence of drunk driving, while other health complications resulting from excessive drinking include liver failure, cardiovascular disorders and cancer.

Trang clearly believes the potential new laws will help improve the health of Vietnamese people. She claims that 20 countries that have previously implemented similar changes have seen, on average, an 8% decrease in alcohol consumption. Compared to countries that only ban wine advertisements, those banning both wine and beer found their citizens were 11% less likely to drink alcohol and 23% less likely to die in a traffic accident.

The proposal follows another earlier this year that aimed to curb late-night drinking. The draft legislation for each will be reviewed by lawmakers this October.

[Photo via Reuters]

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