AUA Joins World No Tobacco Day 2020
Tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure are the leading causes of preventable deaths all over the world, including Armenia.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared May 31 as World No Tobacco Day in 1988. Every year, WHO sets a theme for that day, aiming to unite societies around the world in the important fight against tobacco use. This year, World No Tobacco Day is dedicated to the protection of youth from industry manipulation and to the prevention of tobacco and nicotine use by youth.
For decades, the tobacco industry has been targeting adolescents by implementing aggressive tactics and various strategies to promote the consumption of tobacco products and nicotine. The tobacco industry constantly works to replace its eight million consumers who die from tobacco use each year with new young consumers to maintain revenue. To effectively target children and adolescents, the tobacco industry uses various direct and indirect promotion tactics, such as:
- Scholarship provision
- Event sponsorship
- Free product samples
- Flavors and odor supplements that appeal to children and youth
- Attractive packaging
- Advertisement and sales in places frequented by children and adolescents (e.g. school surroundings)
- Social Media Marketing
At present, there is a great deal of misinformation and distortion of facts concerning tobacco use and the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a denial of the correlation between smoking and coronavirus, regardless of the available and continuously updated scientific facts. Studies show that the use of tobacco products increases the likelihood of being infected with COVID-19, due to smokers frequently touching their faces while smoking, as well as failing to maintain social distance. Smoking weakens the immune system, which not only increases the likelihood of becoming infected with COVID-19, but also can lead to a more severe disease. The tobacco industry misinterprets these facts and is using the crisis to strengthen its public relations through donations and cooperation with governments.
World No Tobacco Day is an important chance for the world to unite and prevent the deception of yet another generation by the tobacco industry. We should not tolerate the immense profits made by the industry under the guise of free choice while millions of people pay with their lives. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to reveal the misinformation spread by the tobacco industry. We must do this to educate and empower our youth to resist tobacco use and defeat the industry once and for all.
The newly adopted tobacco legislation in Armenia is comprehensive and includes significant measures to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, economic, social and environmental impact of tobacco use: banning tobacco industry sponsorship and promotion, and sale of tobacco products, including new alternative products, near schools; introducing plain packaging not appealing to the younger generation. Among other important measures is the ban on indoor smoking in all public places, including dining areas, and a total ban on tobacco product advertisements. Armenia’s new legislation provides important tools to protect youth.
The AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and beyond through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.