Vietnam wrings hands over non-stop drinking

Thanh Nien News

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Vietnamese people drink more than three billion liters of beer and 68 million liters of alcohol a year. Photo courtesy of VietNamNet
Local production of beer and alcohol can't keep up with Vietnam's continuously increasing demand, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Vietnamese people drink more than three billion liters of beer a year, according to the latest numbers released at a conference held in Hanoi on Wednesday (May 7) to review a the ministry of health's new campaign to discourage unhealthy drinking.
Vu Thi Minh Hanh, deputy director of the Health Strategy and Policy Institute, said that global consumption of alcoholic drinks hasn't seen a significant fluctuation over the past decade.
“Meanwhile, consumption in Vietnam has increased continuously, especially among young people and women,” news website VietNamNet quoted Hanh as saying.
Apart from three billion liters of beer, Vietnamese consumed more than 68 million liters of alcohol annually, she said.
According to market survey company Eurowatch, Vietnamese consumed three billion liters of beer in 2012, or 32 liters per capita, making the country the top consumer in Southeast Asia, third in Asia (after China and Japan) and 28th in the world.
The country’s beer market recorded an annual growth rate of 15 percent in 2012, in spite of the fact that its per capita income in that year was just US$1,540, among the lowest in the region, according to Eurowatch.
The Vietnam Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Association reported the consumption increased by 10 percent in 2013.
Hanh said the increasing beer consumption has led to increasing traffic accidents and domestic violence.
A law prohibiting civil servants from drinking during working hours has not been effectively enforced, she said.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnamese people spent about US$3 billion a year on beer and alcohol.
Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organization’s representative to Vietnam, said that consumption of alcoholic drinks is common among more than 70 percent of Vietnamese men, of which one of every four people drinks at harmful levels.

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