On March 29-30, 2011, the Center for Health Services Research and Development, American University of Armenia (CHSR/AUA) in collaboration with the Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (IGTC/JHSPH) organized a symposium entitled “Implementing Smoke-Free Worksites in Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia”, as part of the 5th European Conference on Tobacco of Health in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This unique international collaborative effort was undertaken with generous support of the Research for International Tobacco Control of the Canadian International Development Research Center (RITC/IDRC) and the FAMRI Center of Excellence in Translational Research at Johns Hopkins University. Drs. Narine Movsisyan, Diana Petrosyan, and Arusyak Harutyunyan from CHSR/AUA and Dr. Frances Stillman from IGTC/JHSPH organized and led this important event.
The symposium brought together a panel of regional and international experts along with young researchers to review evidence from countries that are in different stages of tobacco control in Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It also aimed to facilitate regional cooperation and dissemination of the “best practices” in the region.
The symposium included a series of events. Dr. Frances Stillman, Co-Director of the IGTC/JHSPH, opened the discussion by reviewing relevance of secondhand smoke (SHS) research data to policy development and implementation. Drs. Diana Petrosyan and Arusyak Harutyunyan, Research Associates at CHSR/AUA shared their experience in using PM2.5 and air nicotine monitoring data to develop and evaluate smoke-free interventions in Armenia; Dr. Srmena Krstev, the Head of Serbian Committee for Tobacco Prevention, presented a national study of hospital administrators’ readiness to ban smoking in hospitals in Serbia, and Drs. Gulnoza Usmanova, the epidemiologist-statistician at German Technical Cooperation Office in Uzbekistan and George Bakhturidze, Chairman of the Tobacco Control Alliance in Georgia, spoke about challenges of developing and implementing smoke-free legislation in their countries. The panel of experts took questions from the international audience and invited participants to the second interactive session to learn more about the quality improvement tools in tobacco control presented by Dr. Stillman.
At the final networking meeting the symposium participants shared their views on the opportunities for regional cooperation and decided on future actions to move forward tobacco control policy implementation and research in Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia.