YEREVAN—The government of Armenia approved a proposed anti-smoking strategy on Aug. 3. Health Minister Levon Altunyan said strategy aims to implement various programs to help decrease tobacco use in the country.
“The programs will aim at ensuring active cooperation among all concerned parties on the fight against smoking, reviewing and amending current legislation, developing the capacities of healthcare organizations, as well as taking measures on eliminating smoking among teenagers,” the Minister told reporters according to Yerevan-based ArmenPress.
According to Minister Altunyan, the anti-smoking measures are expected to give the following results: smoking-rate reduction by 1.5-2 percent annually; relative reduction of the current tobacco use prevalence among men age 15 and above to 10 percent; and a decrease in secondhand smoke health effects, which will lead to a 5 percent reduction in cases of death caused by cardiovascular diseases, malignant neoplasms, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and diabetes.
Altunyan made an announcement 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. Altunyan said 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 Health Minister.
During a press conference at the United Nations Yerevan Office on World No Tobacco Day (May 31), Alexander Bazarchyan, the director of Armenia’s National Healthcare Institute, said the new program for the fight against tobacco included legislative changes, the improvement of healthcare services, better informing of citizens, and international cooperation.
The changes would also prohibit advertising tobacco products and would compel companies to include photographs on their warning labels, Bazarchyan said.