Basics of Healthy Lifestyle Course undergraduate students under the leadership of faculty and researchers from the AUA School of Public Health (SPH) conducted observations of smoking in public places in Armenia as a course assignment.
On May 31 each year, the world celebrates World No Tobacco Day under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
To celebrate the World No Tobacco Day, active and committed students of AUA Basics of Healthy Lifestyle Course designed a project based on the course assignment to provide feedback on no-smoking policy to selected public places in Yerevan. The main objective of the project was to highlight achievements and challenges in smoke-free policy implementation and advocate for creating smoke-free environments.
The initiative started with a letter to AUA community where the students thanked the community members for creating and maintaining a smoke-free environment in the university, and expressed their strong belief that the next level of achievement for the university should be becoming a smoke-free campus.
To help create a smoke-free campus, the team visited two popular eating out places nearby AUA, the outdoor cafés “At Sergey’s” and “Newbury Street” and shared letters with suggestions on how to create smoke-free environment. A few Master of Public Health students joined the team. The students posted “no-smoking” signs on the tables and “smoke-free area” claims on the walls of the cafés to reinforce the rule against smoking. The owners of both cafés welcomed the initiative and stated that the successful implementation and maintenance of the smoke-free area highly depends on the cooperation of their AUA clients.
The last visited spot was Armenian State Philharmonic Hall. The team met the director of the concert hall, Mr. G. Manasyan and shared the results of the observation and the suggestions for improvement. In agreement with the director, the team removed the ashtrays from the building and replaced them with garbage cans with no-smoking signs, placed no-smoking signs in dressing rooms, hallways and areas near restrooms, and mounted a poster, which certified that Armenian State Philharmonic Hall is a smoke-free area. In addition, the team provided the staff with flyers to distribute among visitors of the concert hall.
After completion of the activities the students commented, “We are happy if we changed mind-sets through our strong team work and belief in our activities. We hope to continue doing observations and providing feedback to many other public places in our city. We are looking forward to making our community a smoke-free and healthy environment to live in.”
The AUA School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region 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.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.
Varduhi Hayrumyan , Arusyak Harutyunyan, Shade Danielyan, Nazeli Aslanyan, Manila Saroyan, Gagik Manasyan, Kristina Simonyan, Armine Abrahamyan