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Use of new media to support passage of Vietnam's national tobacco control legislation
  1. Mego Lien1,
  2. Tom Carroll1,
  3. Stephen Hamill1,
  4. Phan Thi Hai2
  1. 1 Department of Policy, Advocacy and Communication, Vital Strategies, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2 Department of Viet Nam Tobacco Control Fund, Ministry of Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
  1. Correspondence to Mego Lien, Vital Strategies, 61 Broadway, Suite 2800, New York, NY 10006, USA; mego.lien{at}

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In November 2012, the National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam passed the country's first comprehensive tobacco control legislation.1 Following guidelines of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the legislation was implemented from 1 May 2013 and included smoke-free public places, graphic pack warnings, increased taxes on cigarettes and establishment of a sustainable health promotion fund.1 This public health landmark resulted from a large-scale, long-term policy, advocacy and communication effort, which included the campaign described here. The effort was conducted by the Government of Vietnam and local and international non-governmental organisations, and coordinated by the Vietnam Standing Committee on Smoking and Health (VINACOSH).

In May to June 2012, directly leading up to the NA's vote on the tobacco control law, World Lung Foundation (now Vital Strategies) and VINACOSH developed and implemented a tobacco control mass media campaign to educate the public about the harms of tobacco and secondhand smoke and to garner support for the legislation. Compared with prior campaigns with budgets of up to US$200 000, this campaign had a significantly smaller budget of about US$50 000. The majority was spent on message dissemination and media buys (table 1). The campaign used mass media communication materials that built on two prior national TV campaigns in 2010 and 2011. In addition to traditional television broadcasting, which was supported by provincial-level television, radio, LCD screens and loudspeakers, the campaign targeted Vietnamese youth using online and mobile new media channels, which drove electronic signatures for a mobile and online ‘petition’. In Vietnam, smartphone usage (36%) is found to be lower than overall mobile phone usage (93%), but growing rapidly: 3G data subscriptions nearly doubled from 11.9% in 2012 to 21.4% in 2015.2 Estimates suggest that 44% or nearly 40 million Vietnamese people are online, and 57% of internet users actively use Facebook.2 …

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  • Contributors ML was involved in campaign design and implementation; survey and questionnaire design; data analysis and interpretation; literature review; writing and editing of this paper. TC was involved in campaign design and implementation; overall study design and guidance; data analysis and interpretation; writing and editing of this paper. SH was involved in social media campaign implementation; survey and questionnaire design; data analysis and interpretation; review and contribution to writing and editing of this paper. PTH oversaw management of campaign as part of overall advocacy effort to draft and pass legislation; review of this paper.

  • Funding The campaign and surveys were supported by grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Retrospective ethics approval was obtained by the Institutional Ethical Review Board of the Hanoi School of Public Health in Vietnam.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.