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May 31, 2012.   Armenia Shall Protect Health Policy from the Tobacco Industry Interference

Each year the world celebrates No Tobacco Day under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO). This year the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD 2012) focused on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine and confront global tobacco control efforts.

At the press conference held on May 31 at “Henaran” (Henaran.am) press-club, Dr. Narine Movsisyan, Senior Programs Manager, College of Health Sciences, American University of Armenia, and Dr. Arusyak Harutyunyan, Coordinator of the Coalition for Tobacco Free Armenia, reflected on the WNTD theme.

Dr. Movsisyan mentioned that tobacco is the only product that kills its consumer when used as intended. The tobacco product causes death and disease and it is highly addictive.  Based on this unequivocal evidence, the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was developed and came into force in 2005. The speaker talked about the irreconcilable conflict of interest between the tobacco industry’s interest and the public health interest. As stated by the Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),  “in setting and implementing their public health policies in respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.”  Although Armenia ratified FCTC in 2004, the Armenian legislation does not provide effective protection of the public from tobacco smoke.

Dr. Harutyunyan presented the current situation in Armenia in regards to smoking prevalence and exposure to secondhand smoke. According to the Demographic and Health Survey (2010), 63% of 15-49 year old men and 2% of women are smokers. She added that in Armenia, people are widely exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) at homes and in public places.





May 31, 2012. Protecting Children from Tobacco Smoke

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) of the American University of Armenia, Boghossian Gardens together with the Coalition for Tobacco Free Armenia and DJ Vakcina launched the first smoke free playground in Yerevan on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day, May 31.

The children from the neighboring kindergarten and the students from the AUA Experimental English Classes Program joined the visitors of the Lover’s park to celebrate World No Tobacco Day. Arusik Vakcina who is not only well-known and popular DJ but also a dedicated healthy lifestyle advocate, was happy to present her DJ set.  Adults and children enjoyed the joyful and festive atmosphere of the event.

The CHS/AUA staff, faculty, and the MPH students organized different games and activities for children and distributed informational leaflets on the health hazards of smoking and secondhand smoke among the visitors of the Lovers’ Park.

The event was widely covered by TV, radio, and on-line media.



March 20-24, 2012. Members of the Coalition for Tobacco Free Armenia at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health

Narine Movsisyan and Arusyak Harutyunyan (American University of Armenia) and Karine Movsisyan (Goris Youth Union) were awarded with full scholarships to present their  work  at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) in Singapore (March 20-24, 2012).

The WCTOH is the premier international conference on tobacco control that attracts thousands of academics, health professionals, non-government organizations and public officials from more than 100 countries.

In additions to the presentations on “Monitoring compliance with smoke-free legislation to advance the FCTC implementation in Armenia” (N.Movsisyan), “A clinical trial to reduce secondhand smoke exposure in households with children in Yerevan, Armenia” (A.Harutyunyan) and poster presentation “The impact of global financial crisis on tobacco expansion in the regions of Armenia (the example of Syunik region)” (K.Movsisyan) they participated in several workshops and seminars and set up a regional networking meeting with colleagues from the Eastern European countries to discuss possibilities of networking and collaboration.

The delegates of the 15th WCTOH declared that tobacco in all its forms is a global health catastrophe causing 6 million deaths annually, untold suffering, and costing many billions of dollars each year.

March 22, 2012. “Barev Yerkir” TV Program on the Issue of Smoking

On March 22, Karine Abelyan (“Family Medicine Academic Union” NGO) and David Petrosyan (“Human Health Fund” NGO) were the invited guest speakers of the “Barev Yerkir” TV program on Yerkir Media TV. They presented to the audience the broad range of issues including hazards of smoking and secondhand smoke, nicotine addiction as well as modern methods of smoking cessation.


February 28, 2012. Presentation of the Shadow Report on the FCTC Implementation in Armenia

The shadow report on the FCTC implementation in Armenia (2005-2010) was presented and discussed at the American University of Armenia.  The report was prepared by the Center for Health Services Research and Development of the American University of Armenia with support of the Framework Convention Alliance, focusing specifically on those three Articles of the FCTC for which implementation deadlines were set.  The report showed that despite notable legislative improvements as a result of the FCTC ratification, important gaps still exist in Armenian tobacco control legislation.