In the mid-19th century, French colonialism began in Vietnam. During World War II, communist leader Ho Chi Minh formed the Vietminh, an alliance of noncommunist and communist groups to fight the Japanese. In 1954, France admitted defeat and Vietnam was partitioned into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The U.S. replaced the French and by 1964 full scale war, the Vietnam War, was being fought. By 1973, the U.S. was defeated and withdrew its military and by 1975 the southern capital of Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese and the country was reunited once again.  
Tobacco industry information
A 1994 Philip Morris marketing discussion about Vietnam made plans to market Marlboro cigarettes in Vietnam, noting that it was illegal to sell foreign cigarettes there ("Need to manufacture locally to properly market Marlboro in Vietnam"). They also noted that cigarette advertising was prohibited in Vietnamese media, that the smoking rate among Vietnamese men was a phenomenal 80%, that the overall smoking rate among adults was 40% ("one of the highest in Asia"), that the average per capita income in Vietnam was US $220 per year, that a pack of cigarettes sold for $1.00, and the average Vietnamese smoker smoked 11 "sticks" (cigarettes) per day. Thus the average Vietnamese smoker spends an amount almost equal to his annual per capita income on cigarettes each year... (about US $200).