Besides, hundreds of thousands of others are treated for smoking-related diseases every year, it said.
With 15.3 million smokers, or 23.8 percent of its population of 86 million, Vietnam is among the 15 countries with the highest smoking rate, Dr Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the department, said.
A further 33 million people are passive smokers, with the exposure rates at home and the workplace reaching 67.6 percent and 49 percent respectively.
The exposure rate is 70 percent among women and 50 percent among children.
Cigarette prices in Vietnam are among the world’s lowest, so many people get easy access, Khue said.
The draft Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Health Effects of Smoking proposes the tax rate on cigarettes be raised to 65 percent on retail prices, 23 percent higher than the current rate.
If passed by the National Assembly, the law will take effect on January 1, 2013.