YEREVAN (A.W.)—Armenia’s Health Minister Levon Altunyan told reporters on May 31 that he had received instructions from the country’s leadership to declare a war on tobacco and to reduce the number of smokers in Armenia by 30-40 percent.
According to a number of Armenia-based news outlets, Altunyan said that smoking will be banned in public spaces, including restaurants and bars, with no separate closed rooms for smokers. Taxes on tobacco products will be raised as well, according to the Minister.
Altunyan added that after the approval of the program, legislative work will begin in the government in the near future and amendments will be made in Nov. 2017.
During the press conference, which took place at the United Nations Yerevan Office on World No Tobacco Day, Alexander Bazarchyan, the director of the National Healthcare Institute, said that a new program for the fight against tobacco has been developed and has submitted to the government. Its main components are legislative changes, the improvement of healthcare services, better informing citizens, and international cooperation.
According to Bazarchyan, the changes would also prohibit advertising tobacco products and would force companies to include photographs on their warning labels.