MoH mulls alcohol sales ban

The Ministry of Health has drafted a law on alcohol abuse, in which it proposes creating a ban on the sale of alcohol during certain hours.

The draft law is due to be submitted to the National Assembly (NA) for discussion late this year and to be voted in the first NA meeting in 2019. Currently, lawmakers are still in the process of collecting public opinion on the proposed measures.

The law considers three scenarios for restricting hours of alcohol sales. In the first one, no alcoholic drinks are allowed to be sold outside two time spans of 11:00 and 14:00 and 17:00 to 22:00, except in airports’ international terminals and on food, entertainment and tourist streets. In the second scenario, alcohol sales are legal only between 6:00 and 22:00 except on special streets. In the third scenario, while local authorities will decide the banning hours themselves.

The idea of banning alcohol during certain hours was introduced in the initial draft law on preventing harmful effects of alcohol abuse, which has been in the works for more than 10 years. Lawmakers, however, had to remove it due to the controversy and protest it stirred, before trying to put the regulation back into the latest draft.

According to the Việt Nam Beverage Association, the amount of beer consumption in Việt Nam last year reached about four billion litres.

A survey by the health ministry between 2000 and 2005 showed that the number of men drinking alcohol at a harmful level stood at about 20 per cent while a similar survey in 2015 showed the number shot up to more than 44 per cent.

The Ministry of Health’s Department of Legal Affairs deputy director Trần Thị Trang said that the law aimed to tackle the increasing alcohol abuse in Viet Nam and its impacts on citizens’ health and society.

The law, she added, would target not the drinkers but those who sell the alcohol.

“Supermarkets or big shops are all equipped with machines recording sales, through which we can check what time it is when an alcohol sale is made. We can also check and fine smaller shops if there is photo or clip [proving wrongdoing],” Trang told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.

Source: VNS