World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Armenia

Prss1 (1)On February 28, 2012, the College of Health Sciences organized a round table discussion on the occasion of the anniversary of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) coming into force in Armenia.

Narine Movsisyan, Senior Project Manager at the CHSR/AUA, presented the report “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: Implementation Challenges in Armenia,” an independent assessment of the FCTC implementation in Armenia in 2005-2010.

This report focuses specifically on those three Articles of the FCTC for which implementation deadlines were set.  Research showed that despite notable legislative improvements as a result of the FCTC ratification, important gaps still exist in Armenian tobacco control legislation. For instance, Article 8 of the FCTC states, that a universal and complete protection of employees and citizens from exposure to secondhand smoke at all indoor workplaces and public places shall be guaranteed by the law. However, under the national legislation, no such protection is afforded for employees working at dining and leisure facilities. Additionally, under Article 13 of the FCTC, the country shall undertake a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship within 5 years of coming into force; however, the Government’s legislative proposal aimed at addressing at least part of the existing gaps was called back from the National Assembly. Moreover, though the packaging and labeling of the tobacco products currently meets the least requirements identified by the FCTC Article 11, they are far from worldwide best practices. Prss2 (1)

Participants of the discussion included Alexander Bazarchyan, Head of the Public Health Department of the RA Ministry of Health (MOH) and Coordinator of the MOH Tobacco Control Program; Karen Hakobyan, Head of the Legislative Analysis and Improvement Department of the RA Ministry of Justice; Lusine Kocharyan, Senior Specialist at the State Hygiene and Anti-epidemic Inspectorate of the RA MOH; Sergey Harutyunyan, Leading Specialist from the RA Human Rights Defender’s office; Henrik Khachatryan, National Professional Officer from the Division of Non-Communicable Diseases and Health Promotion of the World Health Organization  Country Office for Armenia  and civil society representatives.

The participants of the round table discussion expressed their concern about the slow pace of implementation of the FCTC in Armenia (inadequate for addressing the current smoking rates and its disastrous consequences to the society) and suggested mechanisms of pushing the implementation process forward.