The Student Council of the American University of Armenia (AUA) in collaboration with the students from other Universities and volunteers of the Armenian Red Cross Society organized a student walk dedicated to the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2010.
The aim of the walk was to bring the tobacco epidemic to the attention of society and health specialists, to raise awareness about the health hazards of smoking and tobacco control legislation, and to integrate youth in efforts to curb the tobacco epidemic in Armenia.
The participants of the walk met near Cascade and walked toward the Yerevan State Medical University where participants of the first conference on “Tobacco or Health” joined the event. Then the participants walked along Abovyan Street to the Republic Square where posters exclaiming “No Smoking” and “Clean Air” made from empty cigarette boxes were used as petitions to the general public not to smoke.
Leaflets about tobacco control legislation, the health hazards of smoking and second hand smoke were passed out during the walk and various activities, such as “flash mob” and exchange of cigarette packs with small gifts were utilized to draw public’s attention to this urgent problem in Armenia.
Dr. Rochelle Parks-Yancy, an associate professor of management at Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University and Fulbright Fellow at AUA, shared her impressions from the walk: “ I participated in the walk and was amazed at the level of organization, participation, and effectiveness of the event. AUA students were very proactive in approaching smokers to give up their cigarette packs in return for chocolate and, surprisingly, most smokers willingly relinquished their cancer-causing agents (packs of cigarettes). The use of flash mobs was well organized and generated a lot of publicity. I am quite impressed with the quality and enthusiasm of AUA’s students and, especially, acknowledge the efforts of the Student Council to make this event a rousing success.”