Vietnam's health ministry has revived a proposal to ban beer and liquor sales after 10 pm to combat problems like fatal road accidents caused by drunk driving.
The ministry revealed this at a conference on drinking hazards held in Hanoi on Thursday, which also saw the launch of the Association for Responsible Drinking.
According to Vu Thi Minh Hanh, director of the Health Strategy and Policy Institute, alcohol consumption worldwide has remained unchanged at 6.2 liters per person per year for the last 15 years.
“However, annual alcohol consumption in Vietnam has increased by more than 150 percent, from nearly 4 liters per person in 2003-2005 to 6.6 liters now,” she said.
In ASEAN, Vietnam is only the eighth largest economy but ranks first in terms of beer and liquor sales growth, she said.
Beer and liquor sale after 10 PM may become illegal in Vietnam. Photo: Ha Huy.
Hanh expected alcohol consumption in Vietnam to keep growing to seven liters per person by 2025: “That does not include dozens of millions of liters of moonshine produced each year.”
Pham Viet Cuong of the Hanoi School of Public Health said a study on alcohol consumption in Vietnam in 2013-2015 threw up cause for concern.
Half of men aged 20-24 consume 8-10 units (bottles/cans/glasses) in a session, which is considered a harmful level, he said.
“Vietnam consumes around three billion liters of beer a year. It equals to US$3 billion at an average price of VND22,000 ($1) per liter.”
Tran Thi Trang of the health ministry said excessive alcohol consumption has been linked directly to three cancers and indirectly to seven others.
The proposed draft law would propose a ban on beer and liquor sales at selected places on a trial basis as well as age restrictions for buying them, she said.
The ministry had made a similar proposal last year, but critics said it would not solve the problem of drunk driving or even be enforceable.