Vietnam bans smoking in schools
Vietnam's education ministry has banned smoking and the sale of cigarettes in schools as part of a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of young people taking up the habit.
Cigarette sales and promotion have been banned at all ministry-controlled venues, including conference centres and sports facilities as well as primary and secondary schools.
The decree, aimed at cutting smoking among teachers as well as pupils, sets ambitious targets for reducing cigarette use over the next few years.
By 2010, the ministry aims to cut smoking among university students to less than two per cent, among male teachers to less than 10 per cent and among female teachers to one percent.
Vietnam has one of the highest male smoking rates in the world, but female rates are still low because of social pressures against a habit seen as unladylike.
More than 50 per cent of Vietnamese men smoke, according to health ministry figures but that is down from 63 per cent in 1993.
Female smoking runs at only 3.4 per cent, most of it pipe-smoking or tobacco chewing among older women in the countryside.