On February 24, 2020, the government of Vietnam issued Decree No. 24/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 24”) providing detailed guidance on the 2019 Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages (the “Law on Alcoholic Beverages”), which took effect on January 1, 2020. Among other things, Decree 24 provides further guidance about the restrictions on consumption, advertising, and trading of alcoholic beverages. Below is a summary of these provisions:
Consumption of alcoholic beverages
Under the Law on Alcoholic Beverages and Decree 24, it is prohibited to consume alcoholic beverages at the locations below:
- Healthcare facilities;
- Educational institutions during teaching, learning and working hours;
- Daycare and recreational centers and facilities for minors (persons under the age of 18);
- Detoxification centers, compulsory educational institutions, reform schools, prisons, and other detention facilities;
- Social protection centers;
- Workplaces of state authorities, political organizations, socio-political organizations, socio-political-professional organizations and public service providers during working hours, except in places that are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages;
- Parks, except for restaurants within the park grounds which were licensed to sell alcoholic beverages before the effective date of Decree 24;
- Bus stations; and
- Cinemas, theatres, cultural establishments, and sports facilities during the time that activities/events are taking place in accordance with the primary uses of those facilities, except in cases of culinary and cultural festivals using alcoholic beverages.
Locations 7-9 were newly added by Decree 24.
Decree 24 additionally restricts the depiction of alcohol consumption in movies, TV shows, or theatrical works. For example, actors cannot be shown consuming alcoholic beverages in the prohibited areas mentioned above, and they cannot praise the success of alcoholic beverage companies. Depictions of alcohol consumption will also be a factor in classifying films by age-appropriate audience.
Advertising and trading of alcoholic beverages
Under the Law on Alcoholic Beverages, advertising of beverages with 15% alcohol content or higher is prohibited, while advertising of beverages with under 15% alcohol content (including beer) is restricted. Decree 24 provides further guidance on the restrictions as follows:
- Advertising or trading of alcoholic beverages using electronic platforms, including social media, must apply necessary measures to ensure that minors cannot access the advertisements and are not able to purchase the alcoholic beverages.
- Advertisements of alcoholic beverages must declare, visually or aurally, one of the following warning contents: “Drinking alcoholic beverages can cause traffic accidents,” “Drinking alcoholic beverages can affect fetal health,” or “Persons under the age of 18 are not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages.”
- For alcoholic beverages with under 5.5% alcohol content, advertising by audiovisual means must not be conducted right before, during, or right after programs for children or during the time from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. under the Law on Alcoholic Beverages, except in the case of live broadcasts of sporting events from foreign countries. Decree 24 adds to this exception by permitting advertising from event sponsors during the live broadcasts of regional, continental or world sporting events held in Vietnam.
- Outdoor advertisements of alcoholic beverages with under 5.5% alcohol content must satisfy national technical standards on size and minimum distance from restricted areas (200 meters from general educational and recreational establishments for minors, and 100 meters from vocational training establishments and universities, except for signboards of outlets trading in alcoholic beverages).
It is worth noting that the final two points above do not mean that the advertising of alcoholic beverages with under 5.5% alcohol content is more strictly regulated than for alcoholic beverages with higher alcohol content. Under the Law on Alcoholic Beverages, alcoholic beverages with 5.5% alcohol content or higher are already subject to stricter regulations in these areas.
Decree 24 took effect on the date of issuance, February 24, 2020. Any advertising or trading activities conducted or implemented after this date must meet the above conditions. Activities and advertisements violating the above provisions that were conducted or produced before this date may continue to be carried out until June 30, 2020, or until the expiry of the advertising contract; such advertising contracts may not be renewed after expiry.
For more information on Decree 24, please contact us at [email protected].