Specialists support the anti-smoking legislation in Armenia, initiated by the government. They insist the legislative measures, specifically the ban on smoking in public places, is one of the most efficient ways to combat noncommunicable diseases and early deaths caused by adverse effects of smoking.
Urologist Vahe Ter-Minasyan noted at a meeting with reporters that more than 5 million people die each year in the world from tobacco-related illness, 1 mission of which from passive smoking. In his words, secondhand smoke is known to cause cancer. It has more than 7,000 chemicals, including at least 70 that can cause cancer. The urologist informed that more the 80% of all smokers live in economically underdeveloped countries while people living in more developed countries gradually realize the adverse risks of the smoking habit.
“People living in developed countries have long realized that smoking is not trendy any more. It is no cooler and they cannot surprise anyone. They only show their tobacco dependence. Although smokers do not consider smoking as disease, it is classified as such. In order to cure it we should prevent it,” Ter-Minasyan said.
Adjunct Assistant Professor at AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health Arusyak Harutyunyan, in turn, reminded that Armenia ranks a top place for the number of smokers in the world. According to estimates, 60 percent of Armenian men and 2 percent of women are regular smokers. Moreover, smoking dramatically increases the chances of developing cancer that is the reason most governments are concerned with and initiate anti-tobacco measures.
“A ban on smoking in public areas should not be end in itself as it should prevent adverse effects on secondhand smoking as well,” Harutyunyan said, adding the initiative will result in major improvements in the sphere.
A restaurant director Arsen Hovhannisyan, present at the discussion, informed that they had decided to ban smoking, including electronic cigarettes in their restaurant four years ago, and the decision has positively impacted their reputation and business.