One out of every two adults in Armenia smoke
That and other information gathered by the Ministry
of Healthcare point to a future of widespread
respiratory ailments throughout the republic.
out of every two adult Armenians is a smoker.
Statistics show that smoking among women has
increased by 35 percent in recent years. It is
an alarming trend, but not as alarming perhaps
as figures showing the same increase among children
ages 12 to 17. Healthcare officials say there
are smokers in Armenia under the age of 12.
These and other data will be at the core of efforts
to dissuade tobacco use when Armenia participates
in an international anti-smoking day tomorrow
Harutyun Minasyan is 17 and has been a smoker
for three years.
"I don't know what forced me to be interested
in cigarettes," says the slim teenager, putting
out another cigarette in an ashtray. "Almost
everyone smokes in my company. Both my parents
and my friends smoke. Maybe it somehow had an
influence on my choice."
Behaviour experts agree that peer pressure is
a key factor in forming habits. And here, where
advertisements have only recently faced regulations,
the urge to smoke is encouraged.
"Advertisements and opinion persuaded our
society that a man must smoke for proving his
manhood and a woman must do the same for looking
enigmatic," says psychologist Sona Markosyan.
"Of course, all of that has an influence
especially on young people. We all see that."
In August of last year new legislation placed
prohibitions on advertising cigarettes on television
and radio. It also banned such advertising on
covers of magazines or newspapers.
Tobacco companies filled the advertising gap
Alexander Bazarjyan coordinates the Ministry
of Healthcare's project to curb smoking and says
that advertisers are finding ways around the law.
"Sometimes it happens when an advertisement
of cigarettes is shown on TV in a hidden way,"
he says, adding that it is up to the Television
and Radio Commission and law enforcement to impose
Despite the statistics, specialists say some
results are being achieved from recent anti-smoking
campaigns. Some smokers are quitting and children
are being educated against taking up the habit.
"Of course, there is no anti-smoking project
that can be realized in one year," says Bazarjyan.
"However works are conducted and changes
will become noticeable in due course."