The National Assembly of Armenia ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on October 12, 2004. Based on the request from the Coalition for Tobacco Free Armenia, the Government of Armenia announced October 12 as the National No Tobacco Day in 2008.
To celebrate the National No Tobacco day in 2011, the Center for Health Services Research and Development of the American University of Armenia (CHSR/AUA), a founding member of the Coalition for Tobacco Free Armenia, in cooperation with the Bօghossian Gardens organized an interactive educational session for the primary school children.
During the event, the students of the AUA Master of Public Health (MPH) Program talked to children to promote the idea of healthy lifestyle and teach about hazards of tobacco smoke through the “Paint It!” game. The children accompanied by teachers and parents were very enthusiastic about painting the anti-smoking signs and flags and did not hesitate to express their opinions in front of cameras. Ms. Anahit Hovhannisyan, the #51 school teacher, stated: “It is crucial to raise the awareness of children about the problem of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure from their early ages.” The parents suggested also that such open-air classes need to be continued to teach children about healthy nutrition and lifestyle. Dr. Narine Movsisyan, Senior Programs Manager at CHSR/AUA emphasized the importance of educating the young children: “Exposure to secondhand smoke is a major public health issue in Armenia. According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2009, eight to nine of ten Armenian schoolchildren are exposed to secondhand smoke at homes and in public places.”
While the MPH students talked to the children, the CHSR/AUA staff distributed informational leaflets on the health hazards of smoking and secondhand smoke among the visitors of the Lovers’ Park.