Davit Petrosyan, Adviser to RA Minister of Health, and Arusyak Harutyunyan, Senior Researcher at the Center for Services Research and Development of the American University of Armenia (AUA) School of Public Health (SPH), were the speakers of the discussion.
Referring to the issues of tobacco dependence in Armenia, Davit Petrosyan said that due to the initiated activities, the number of the smokers in Armenia has significantly been reduced. Davit Petrosyan believes that activities aiming at limiting the spread of tobacco, including banning the advertisement of tobacco in mass media, contributed to this.
“In 1990 the state statistics showed that the number of smoker men at the age of 15 and more comprised 63%. 10 years later, the research showed that the number has reduced by 10%,” Petrosyan said adding that there is a tendency among the young people not to smoke.
“If some years ago boys at the age of 13, 14, 15 became smokers, the number of teenagers has reduced now,” Petrosyan said.
Arusyak Harutyunyan says that since 2004 campaigns against smoking have been effective particularly in terms of legislative reforms. The latter also added that smoking is not just a habit or lifestyle, it is a chronic disease.
“Any doctor should treat it like any other disease, that is diagnose, treat and so on. To invest this approach in Armenia, our center has conducted trainings for doctors regarding the medical treatment of tobacco dependence since 2014. When we started to study the program, we realized that no study has been conducted about what the doctors think, what approaches they have,” Arusyak Harutyunyan said.
Referring to the development of the policy on comprehensive measures to combat the spread of the tobacco, Davit Petrosyan says that the international practice shows the increase of tobacco taxes brings to the increase of tobacco prices which to some extent prevents the spread of that phenomenon.
“To preserve the precious health, you should quit smoking because people are losing huge amounts to treat the diseases caused by smoking. It is proved that daily tobacco use is a risk factor that causes a variety of diseases,” Adviser to the Minister of Health said.
Arusyak Harutyunyan drew attention to tha fact that about twenty years before smoking was considered a criterion of welfare and was spread in the developed states but todays perceptions have changed.
“The cases of dieseses and death caused by smoking comprise 80% mostly in medium and low income states. And in the developed states smoking is considered a symbol of bad life. It was possible to achieve these results due to complex measures – limiting ads, campaign, education, increase in taxes and so on,” Harutyunyan said.
To watch the video, follow the link.