Project Lead(s): Huyen Dao
Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure is a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in 2010, exposure to SHS was 89.4% in bars, cafes and tea shops, and 80.7% in restaurants.
Vietnam promulgated its Tobacco Control Law (TCL) in 2012, which allows a partial ban or designated smoking areas in bars and restaurants. A total smoking ban policy has been adopted, but not enforced.
This project aimed to develop a smoke-free intervention in restaurants and bars in Vietnam, based on successful programs that have been employed in other countries.
The project was comprised of a before-and-after study, conducted in two pilot districts to assess the impact of interventions to enforce non-smoking regulations in bars and restaurants.
Project activities included advocacy for the development of a policy enforcement mechanism to implement totally smoke-free bars and restaurants, communication and education activities to raise awareness about the policy, monitoring of the implementation of the policy and business promotion.
By educating 30 bar and restaurant owners about the health impact of SHS, the project worked to promote behaviour changes.
Radio interviews were broadcast, the issues were discussed in training courses and workshops, and National Tobacco Control day was used to synchronize with the national effort to raise awareness about the health impact of tobacco smoke and to promote the implementation of a smoke-free policy.
Results from the project showed that the team was successful in creating awareness about second-hand smoke.
Data showed that the support for a smoke-free policy increased in the project districts, from a baseline of 60% to 77% among bar and restaurant employees.
At the end of the project, 76.3% of employees in project districts reported having an enforcement officer/cultural officers’ inspections of the implementation of the smoke-free policy, compared to 58% in the non-project districts.
The proportion of bars and restaurant employees who reported their establishments had a policy that restricted smoking in any way was 84.5% in project districts, compared to 54.4% in non-project districts.
In addition, 40% of employees reported asking patrons to stop smoking in the bars and restaurants after the smoke-free policy was implemented.
The project team plans to apply to Grand Challenges Canada to apply for scale-up funding, in collaboration with the Vietnam Steering Committee on Smoking and Health (VINACOSH), the Center for Research and Community Development (CDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Vietnam. The team will also approach other funders, such as the Bloomberg Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies, to mobilize more funding.
The plan is to expand activities to the national level (all major cities and all 65 provinces in Vietnam) with a mass media campaign, policy dialogue and strengthening of the enforcement mechanisms.