On this year’s World No Tobacco Day, which is on May 31st, 2023, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has introduced a strategy to reduce the area dedicated to tobacco cultivation while promoting the cultivation of food crops. With the campaign “Grow food, not tobacco,” WHO aims not only to promote global health by reducing smoking but also to address the ongoing food crisis worldwide.

The focus of this year’s campaign is to encourage governments to cease subsidizing tobacco cultivation and instead provide support to farmers to transition to crops that improve food security and nutrition. Furthermore, the campaign aims to raise awareness among tobacco-growing communities about the benefits of abandoning tobacco cultivation. By shifting to food crops, these communities can help combat desertification, environmental degradation, and establish a more sustainable livelihood.

The Government of Vietnam has been making efforts for several years to implement policies and programmes supporting tobacco farmers in transitioning to alternative agricultural models. However, the government requires cooperation from other sectors, such as health organisations and environment organizations, to have more appropriate resources and develop suitable strategies.

Recognising the detrimental effects of tobacco on individual health, communities, and social well-being, FV Hospital has consistently responded to WHO’s campaigns in combating the prevalence of tobacco use in the community. By striving to establish a tobacco-free hospital and organising awareness-raising activities, FV Hospital aims to install a sense of responsibility in its staff, patients, and the community regarding tobacco use in Vietnam and its adverse health effects.

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In observance of World No Tobacco Day 2023 and National Non-Smoking Week (May 25th – 31st, 2023), FV Hospital aims to contribute to spreading the message of this year’s campaign, “Grow food, not tobacco”. By doing so, FV Hospital seeks to join hands with the community, raising their voices to effect positive change within the tobacco industry and for the tobacco farmers in Vietnam.

According to data from the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) in 2018, Vietnam ranks among the top three countries in ASEAN with the largest tobacco cultivation area and the highest number of participants. It stands next to Indonesia and the Philippines. It is estimated that Vietnam has 14,651 hectares of tobacco plantations, involving approximately 220,000 people in the cultivation process.

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