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Teenage drinking has become a problem in Vietnam. Statistics from a report released by the Hanoi University of Public Health showed that 80% of males started drinking alcohol in their teens.

Up to 44% of boys between the eighth and 12th grades admitted they had consumed alcohol before they were 14 years old, the study revealed, according to VN Express.

These figures were highlighted by Associate Professor Pham Viet Cuong last week during a discussion about the planned law on alcohol consumption.

According to the report, teenage drinking can be extremely harmful, leading to addiction problems, health issues, school absenteeism, conflicts with peers and unsafe sexual activities.

Cuong has called on Vietnam’s National Assembly to act quickly after the former vice-chairman of the Committee for Social Affairs Nguyen Van Tien said the draft law had yet to take in recommendations from the World Health Organization.

The WHO had earlier sent a letter to the Vietnamese government asking for controls to be put in place to regulate the industry.

The bill will likely include higher duties on alcoholic drinks, a ban on advertising and a strict age policy.

Vietnamese consumers spend around US$3.4 billion on alcohol every year, according to the Ministry of Health. Duties from the industry make up 3% of the government’s revenue.