October 30, 2018
According to the latest STEPS Survey (2016-2017) the percentage of current tobacco smokers for males in Armenia is 51.5%; this makes Armenia one of the countries in the European Region with the highest rates of male smokers. The data for females is less disturbing, showing that 1.8 % of females smoke.
Understanding that tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death and diseases that can be successfully tackled by comprehensive and evidence-based tobacco control policies, the Armenian government has resolved to take action to reduce the number of smokers. The National Tobacco Control Strategy and action plan for the years 2017-2020 was developed by the Ministry of Health (MoH) Armenia. In 2018 the MoH Armenia initiated development of the new national tobacco control law. The new tobacco control law will be strengthened by putting emphasis on controlling smoking in public places and revising enforcement mechanisms. Strengthening tobacco control policies in Armenia will help to protect the population from the harmful health effects of smoking and prevent premature deaths from tobacco use.
Further to this, on 30-31 October 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) is conducting a train-the trainer sub-regional workshop on tobacco cessation in Armenia for three countries (Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine). The workshop is organized within the framework of the WHO tobacco control mission, which aims to advocate and promote the adoption of the new tobacco control law and implementation of the Article 14 of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in Armenia, and to facilitate WHO train-the trainer sub-regional workshop on tobacco cessation.
The WHO European Region has one of the highest proportions of deaths attributable to tobacco use. WHO has estimated that tobacco use is currently responsible for 16% of all deaths in adults over 30 in the Region, with many of these deaths occurring prematurely.
Dr Egor Zaitsev, WHO representative in Armenia mentioned that “We need to engage health professionals in tobacco control and it is paramount to build countries' capacity to strengthen primary health-care systems to make brief tobacco interventions available through primary health-care services. Studies show that even brief advice from health professionals can increase tobacco abstinence rates up to 30%.”
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control suggests the following tobacco control interventions to reduce tobacco use:
New projections from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that implementing strong tobacco control policies in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will result in significant positive health and economic impacts in countries of the WHO European Region.