AUA Draws Attention to Environmental Harms of Tobacco

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On May 31, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Turpanjian College of Health Sciences and Open Center for Transformative Health Solutions joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in marking World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) by organizing a public lecture in line with this year’s theme, “Tobacco — threat to our environment.” The WHO declared May 31 as WNTD in 1988. Every year, the WHO launches campaigns around a theme, aiming to unite societies around the world in the important fight against tobacco. The WHO dedicated WNTD 2022 to raising awareness of the harmful impact of tobacco on the environment and human health adding new emphasis on the reasons to quit.

Research Associate and graduate of the Global Tobacco Control Certificate Program of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Zaruhi Grigoryan (MPH’ 15) delivered the public lecture on the environmental threats of tobacco. She focused on the harms tobacco inflicts on the environment throughout the entire tobacco production cycle, including growing and curing, manufacturing, distribution, consumption, and post-consumption. Grigoryan stressed that tobacco growing is responsible for soil degradation and deforestation, causes food insecurity, and pollutes the environment with toxic emissions and waste that threaten human development. In addition, she highlighted that the emissions of greenhouse gases during tobacco production and consumption contribute to climate change and reduce climate resilience. Grigoryan also noted that transnational tobacco companies enjoy their revenues without compensating for depleted human and natural resources. A multi-sectoral collaboration is needed to develop and enforce environmentally-oriented regulations in tobacco farming and consuming countries. She advocated for holding tobacco-producing companies accountable for the environmental costs they inflict on societies and the planet.

Finally, Grigoryan touched upon the available information on the tobacco lifecycle and associated environmental implications in Armenia, concluding with the successes and challenges of tobacco control efforts in Armenia.

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research, and evaluation, health care delivery, and management.

The Open Center for Transformative Health Solutions provides transdisciplinary education and collaborative experiences and stimulates collaborations outside the traditional public health disciplines to develop solutions to complex health problems modern societies face.

Media Coverage:

[CivilNet] Public health experts urge more tobacco control efforts in Armenia