On December 9, 2011 the AUA College of Health Sciences (CHS), in collaboration with the “Yerevantrans” CJSC of the Yerevan Municipality and the Yerevan Vocational College #1, organized an antismoking event to support and promote making public transport 100% smoke-free.
In May 2011, the CHS established a Smoke-Free Hotline to collect information on violations of tobacco control regulations. As a result, feedback from the general public suggested that public transport, particularly in remote districts of Yerevan, is not smoke-free as is required by law. The CHS Tobacco Control team shared the data with “Yerevantrans” management that supervises the Yerevan public transportation system, and a joint agreement was made between the CHS Tobacco Control team and “Yerevantrans” management to address the issue of public transportation drivers’ smoking while driving. The CHS Tobacco Control team accompanied by representatives of “Yerevantrans” conducted a daily monitoring and spoke with drivers to better understand the barriers in implementing the smoking ban in public transportation.
In addition, the CHS Tobacco Control team met with faculty and students from the Yerevan Vocational College #1, a longtime partner of “Yerevantrans,” for a brief discussion about tobacco control and potential collaboration with the college. As a result of brainstorming, the students who study to become chefs came up with an innovative intervention to combine their professional skills in cooking with tobacco control advocacy. The tobacco control intervention was initiated during morning rush hour at one of the bus stops in Yerevan. Drivers of full-sized busses and mini-busses arriving in the bus stop were surprised and pleased to be offered freshly-baked cookies with a “No-Smoking” message. The student chefs thanked the drivers for keeping public transportation smoke-free and posted the Smoke-Free Hotline number in the buses.
The head of the Transportation Department of the Yerevan Municipality Mr. Navasardyan, the director of the “Yerevantrans” Mr. Hambardzumyan, the director of the Vocational College Mr. Davtyan and vocational college faculty joined the action to encourage the student tobacco control activists. TV media covered the event.