Vietnam makes list of world’s top ten alcohol consumers

Vietnamese people drank more than 3.4 billion litres of beer and another 342 million litres of spirits last year 
Health experts have raised more concerns over the negative health impacts of alcohol after seeing an increased drinking rate among the Vietnamese population and an increased volume of alcohol consumed in the country.

The latest report, produced by the Vietnam Beverage Association, shows that Vietnamese people drank more than 3.4 billion litres of beer and another 342 million litres of spirits last year – a 40 percent increase from 2010 – putting the country in the top 10 global consumers of alcohol.

Early last week, the Ministry of Health revealed results of a survey on non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors. The survey was conducted in 2015 by the ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on nearly 3,800 people aged between 18 and 69 in Vietnam.

In the survey, more than 77 percent of adult males and 11 percent of females said they had consumed at least six units of alcohol in the past 30 days. More than 44 percent of men and 1.2 percent of women said that they had engaged in heavy episodic drinking.

The rate of male drinkers increased by 11 percent while the rate of female drinkers went up 6 percent compared to 2010 figures.

Survey findings show that 44 percent of men drank alcohol at a hazardous level, which means that within the last 30 days, there was at least one time they drank more than 180 millilitres of spirits or more than six cans of beer.

About half of all drinkers drove a vehicle within two hours of drinking.

Nguyen Ph uo ng Nam, an expert from the WHO said one of the biggest concerns was that more young people were drinking alcohol.

The problem became more serious as the Vietnamese generally think drinking helps to build relationships, facilitate business and reduce stress, Nam said, expressing concern that up to 97 percent of men said beer was not harmful to health.

Tran Quoc Bao, Head of the Non-communicable Diseases Control Division under the Preventive Medicine Department, said that alcohol was an indirect cause for at least 30 diseases affecting many parts of body including the nervous and digestive systems. Alcohol can severely affect a foetus in the womb, and both the mental and physical development of drinkers.

Drinking alcohol also led to other risks such as unsafe sex, drink related injuries, violence and traffic accidents, Bao said.

Vice President of HCM City Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Le Thanh Ly, said that alcohol caused cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

Up to 10 percent of men aged from 50 to 69 in Vietnam died of liver cancer caused by alcohol, three times higher than world’s average rate, Ly said.

Nguyen Van Hiep, 33, an office worker in Hanoi said that now almost all people knew about the harm of alcohol, but few could say “No” to drinking, as it was part of social communication, business and culture.

“Drinking can make gatherings and parties more fun, speed up business deals or it implies that you are sociable and friendly to others,” he said, adding that sometimes he drank reluctantly and suffered serious headaches and exhaustion after drinking.

Hiep’s wife said that she complained all the time about his drinking but nothing had changed.

“Whenever he leaves home to go drinking, I’m worried until he drives home safely. I told him many times about the long-term consequences of drinking, but he doesn’t seem afraid,” she said.

Doctor Pham Thi Hoang Anh, Head of HealthBridge Canada in Vietnam, a non-government organisation working in health improvement, said that it’s easy now for Vietnamese youngsters to access alcohol. The country only bans advertising of drinks with an alcohol content of 15 percent or higher.

She said policies to control alcohol consumption in Vietnam were not strict enough given the low price of wine and beer.

“The government should consider passing the Law on Alcohol Control, the draft of which was initially planned for submission by the Ministry of Health in 2017, but has now been delayed,” she said.
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All comments [ 10 ]

Pack Cassiopian 14/9/16 22:42

As many as 10,000 cases violating alcohol concentration regulations while driving were handled nationwide in August this year

yobro yobro 14/9/16 22:43

Vietnam is facing a growing burden of fatalities from non-communicable diseases

Love Peace 14/9/16 22:44

At 43.8 percent of the country’s adult population, general alcohol consumption rate of Vietnamese people is higher than some might expect.

John Smith 14/9/16 22:45

Although there were only 17 traffic accidents involving drunk drivers, alcohol is a major reason behind serious accidents

Deck Hero14 14/9/16 22:46

It's a very high number that 1,760 traffic accidents happened across the country in August this year, killing 705 people and injuring nearly 1,500 others

Jane smartnic 14/9/16 22:48

nearly one third, or 28.1 percent, of Vietnamese people did not participate in physical exercise.

LawrenceSamuels 14/9/16 22:49

Traffic police in localities should increase breath-testing on drivers to detect violations

MaskOf Zero 14/9/16 22:50

More than 44 percent of men and 1.2 percent of women said that they had engaged in heavy episodic drinking.

Gentle Moon 14/9/16 22:52

Vietnam should put forward intervention measures against NCD with a focus on strengthening law and regulations on alcohol damage prevention

Only Solidar 14/9/16 22:54

Vietnam should also undertake measures to reduce the use of alcohol in the society

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