A Vietnamese health official was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) for his efforts to curb tobacco use in Vietnam.
Ly Ngoc Kinh, senior consultant and former head of the Vietnamese government's anti tobacco program, was among 32 international recipients of this year's World No Tobacco Day Award.
Kinh received the award for his efforts to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Vietnam, the United Nations' agency said in a recent press release.
Vietnam was one of the first countries to ratify the WHO FCTC in 2004. The treaty established goals and minimum standards for tobacco controls has been ratified by more than 170 countries.
Kinh, the former director general of the health ministry's Medical Service Administration, also helped draft the National Action Plan for Implementation of the convention in 2009.
He is now a member of the group that is drafting a tobacco control law which will be considered by the National Assembly next year, according to the rease.
Initiated in 1988, the awards are presented to organizations and individuals from six different world regions for their exceptional contributions to reducing tobacco consumption.
According to the WHO, more than 40,000 Vietnamese die every year from tobacco-related illnesses, making them one of the leading causes of death in Vietnam. Globally, tobacco kills nearly six million a year.
Vietnam is among the countries with the world's highest male smoking rates 47.4 percent of adult men smoke, according to the organization.