Vietnam ministry proposes restricting hours of alcohol sale

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People drink beer in Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health is collecting feedback on the proposal to prohibit the sale of alcohol during specific time of the day, which is aimed at minimizing the negative effects of alcoholic beverages on the society.

In its draft law on preventing harmful effects of alcohol abuse, the health ministry highlights three possible scenarios for limiting the sale of alcoholic drinks during certain hours.

The first solution seeks to recommend that alcohol only be sold from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm on a daily basis. This rule does not apply to international terminals at local airports and in areas specializing in cuisine, entertainment, and tourism.

The second approach suggests that the sale of alcoholic beverages must only be allowed between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm every day. This regulation is not applicable to areas specializing in cuisine, entertainment, and tourism.

The third recommendation shows that authorities in each city and provinces decide their own ban periods.

The tentative law is expected to be presented to the law- making National Assembly in late 2018 and whether is it approved or not will be decided in early 2019.

According to Tran Thi Trang, deputy head of the legal division of the Ministry of Health, it took over ten years for the draft law to be established.

During such period, beer consumption in Vietnam has increased from 2.7 billion liters to four billion liters a year, Trang elaborated.

The medical cost for treatment of health conditions brought about by excessive drinking has also skyrocketed over the past decade, the official added.

Such rules have been implemented in many countries across the world, said Nguyen Huy Quang, head of the health ministry’s legal division.

“In Thailand, the ban of alcohol sale is applied during certain hours of the day, as well as on election dates,” Quang explained.

“A committee that manages the consumption of alcohol is established at each of the country’s provinces and cities.

“Thanks to the efforts, death toll caused by excessive drinking has been significantly reduced.”

If the law is passed, only sellers, rather than buyers, will be fined if the break the rules, Trang said, adding that the sale will be monitored via the stores’ system or surveillance camera footage.

Taxes on alcohol are at about 40 percent in Vietnam, which is much lower compared to other nations, she added.

In order to mitigate the negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption, authorities must implement assertive measures, the official stated.

By Duy Khang, Source: Tuoi Tre News