Smoking the top killer for Vietnamese men, official says

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Vietnam has 16 million active smokers, making it one of the top 15 smoking countries in the world, a Health Ministry official said at a Hanoi press briefing Tuesday.

Dr Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the ministry's Treatment and Examination Management Department, told the media that smoking causes more deaths in Vietnam than HIV/AIDS or traffic accidents, Nhan Dan reported.

Nearly 11 percent of male deaths in Vietnam are caused by tobacco-related illness, he said.

Many women and children are also exposed to the risk, since two thirds of them inhale second-hand smoke at home.

The figures were released as Vietnam prepares to celebrate national non-smoking week between May 25 and 31.

Vietnam's national anti-smoking program has required cigarette manufacturers to stamp visual warnings of the habit's dangers on their products.

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At the same time, state media outlets have been ordered not to advertise or offer any kinds of promotions for tobacco businesses.

Financial agencies have been ordered to raise the tariffs on the products.

Further legislation is currently in the works.

The World Health Organization has also called for countries to reduce the influence of tobacco businesses.

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