VUSTA approved CHD's project of smoke-free bus station
Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) has just approved a grant aid not in form of official development assistance of foreign agencies, the project “Enhancing the compliance with smoke free policies at public transportation places through strengthening reward, punishment mechanism and encouraging community participation” managed by the Consultancy Center for Community Health and Development (CHD Center), a science and technology organization affiliated to the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations.
The project is funded by Bloomberg Initiative through the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Inc., (The Union) with the goals: Reduce the secondhand smoke exposure and avoidable tobaco-related diseases in public transport and places in Ho Chi Minh City.
The project was designed to gain the following 3 objectives: 1) strengthening policy framework for implementation of enhancing the smoke-free compliance (SFC) policies on transportation in Ho Chi Minh City; 2) strengthening the transportation sector’s capacity to implement SFC in vehicles and public places; 3) enhancing the implementation of SFC policies in public transportation in Ho Chi Minh City.
Photo: Health and Life Newspaper
Although the Law on prevention and control of tobacco harms came into effect in 2013, smoking in public places is still popular. A smoke-free environment in the transportation sector has been implemented in the city since 2012 but smoking indoor public places still occurs even smoking people see the smoking prohibition signs. In phase 1 of project, the fine imposed on driver, staff and other people has been strictly implemented at the Saigon Bus Station and the Western bus station in 2018-2020. However, no cases of passengers’s violation were fine.
Some results have been achieved in phase 1 can be listed as follows: improving processes/mechanisms to enforce smoking-free environment regulations at bus stations and vehicles; improving environmental sanitation at the bus station; improving internal regulations on penalties for violations against staff and service partners of the bus station.
According to reports from steering committee on smoking and health of two bus stations, nearly 9,000 passengers, officers, staff and service providers were warned for violations; handling of violations of 254 cases of officers and employees working at the station with a total fine of VND 109,000,000.
Cigarettes smoking violations has dropped significantly. An encouraging number of people who successfully quit smoking is an unexpected result of the project. The project has helped create an image of smoke-free bus station. Bus station’s landscape has markedly changed towards clean, civilized and polite area. Rules board and banners are embedded in high-visibility areas. Especially, the new no-smoking signs with a fine of 100,000 to 300,000 VND (according to Decree 176/2013/ND-CP) are installed on more than 1500 vehicles and the all spots at the bus station.
For outstanding achievements of phase 1, the donor decided to fund CHD to continue implementing phase 2 of the project. The project aims to strengthen policy framework and capacity of the transport sector to comply with smoke-free environments on vehicles and public places through strengthening rewards and fines and the community participation at bus stations.
Phase 2 of the project will be implemented at 11 public transport stations including ferries and bus stations in HCM City from January 2021 to December 2022 with a total aid cost of $121,072.