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The costs of smoking in Vietnam: the case of inpatient care
  1. Hana Ross1,
  2. Dang Vu Trung2,
  3. Vu Xuan Phu2
  1. 1
    American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA, USA
  2. 2
    Hanoi School of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
  1. Hana Ross, PhD, Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society, 250 Williams Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303-1002, USA; hana.ross{at}


Objective: To estimate the social costs of smoking related to inpatient care in Vietnam using 2005 data.

Design: The cost of illness as a result of hospitalisation for three major smoking-related diseases combined with the prevalence-based approach to obtain the costs of smoking in Vietnam for inpatient care.

Main outcome measure: Smoking-attributable costs of inpatient care for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and ischaemic heart disease.

Results: The total cost of inpatient health care caused by smoking in Vietnam reached at least 1 161 829 million Vietnamese dollars ($VN) (or $US77.5 million) in 2005. This represents about 0.22% of Vietnam gross domestic product (GDP) and 4.3% of total healthcare expenditure. The majority of these expenses are related to COPD treatment ($VN1 033 541 million or $US68.9 million per year) followed by lung cancer ($VN78 143 million, or $US5.2 million per year) and ischaemic disease ($VN50 145 million, or $US3.3 million per year). The government directly finances about 51% of these costs. The rest is financed either by households (34%) or by the insurance sector (15%).

Conclusions: The social costs of smoking in Vietnam as the percentage of GDP is lower compared to estimates from high-income countries. The true costs would be substantially higher if all smoking-related diseases, outpatient care and mortality-related costs are included. More research is needed to augment the estimates presented in this paper.

  • Vietnam
  • smoking and health

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  • Funding: The Rockefeller Foundation and the ThaiHealth Foundation.

  • Competing interests: none.

  • Contributors: DVT and VXP conceived the study and collected the data. DVT and HR conducted the analyses and drafted the manuscript, with substantial contributions from VXP. HR prepared the manuscript for publication.

  • Abbreviations:
    chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    smoking-attributable inpatient costs
    smoking-attributable fraction
    socioeconomic status