An Armenian law that came into force in 2005 banned smoking in hospitals, cultural and educational institutions and public buses. Additional restrictions introduced a year later required other entities—including bars and restaurants—to allow smoking only in special secluded areas. However, with no legal sanctions put in place against violations, those measures proved largely ineffective.
On Thursday 2nd August 2017 and as part of a new strategy to curb tobacco use, the Armenian government announced plans to restrict smoking in public places and raise cigarette prices.
That program was supposed to reduce tobacco consumption, which is blamed by medics for the high incidence of lung cancer in Armenia. Government data shows that the proportion of heavy smokers in the population actually increased from 23 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2016; However, the 2017 statistics show that the number of smokers has not dropped, moreover, the cigarette use has increased among both men and women.
As part of our Health Awareness campaign, Develop Armenia was posted in several article about the #InDoorBanSmoking and on this stage we are supporting the amazing campaign and remarkable promotion by the minister of Health Arsen Torosyan when he twitted on Thursday a significant post: “From now on I won’t visit any restaurant or café in Armenia that allows indoor smoking until our new #TobaccoControl law is adopted. I will also promote all restaurants that voluntarily prohibit smoking NOW!”.
The minister stressed the need for decisive measures and political will to deal with the high figures of tobacco consumption in the country. He attached special importance to adopting legal acts that would ban smoking in public places.
Minister Torosyan spoke in favour of the adoption of the Health Ministry-drafted bill to reduce and prevent the negative effects of tobacco products use in the country, at the same time stressing the need to make some changes in the bill regarding the fines on those who might fail to comply with the measure.
He also pointed to the issues regarding the tobacco advertising, its price policy and raising the public awareness.
According to the statistics, some 53,4 percent of Armenian men and 2,3 percent of women above 15 years of age are smokers.
Arsen Torosyan noted the cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, adding some 12% of heart diseases develop due to smoking or exposure to the second-hand smoke.
In a related context the health activist David Dadalyan tweeted about his small contribution to the big Anti Smokeing movement in Armenia when he hailed the 300 people who changed their profile pictures in support of a bill to ban smoking in public area using the hashtags: #NoSmoking – #ԱնծուխՀայաստան
Finally, we urge all Armenians to join this campaign and to support the movement of the activists and minister; As Develop Armenia we are ready to contribute with any social initiative on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day – Friday 31 May 2019. We should work together to improve health of public through reduction of smoking-attributable morbidity, disability and mortality and promotion of healthy non-smoking lifestyle in Armenia.