Proposed smoking ban envisages support for potential quitters
YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 8, ARMENPRESS. The healthcare ministry’s proposed bill on imposing a smoking ban (On Reducing and Preventing Health Damages Resulting from Tobacco Products and Substitutes), envisages a number of restrictions for smoking in public areas.
Deputy Minister of Healthcare Lena Nanushyan told a news conference today that the bill also envisages restrictions on selling tobacco and adverstisements.
“For example, if a restaurant patron is smoking the manager of the venue is obliged to warn them that smoking is banned there. If the patron continues smoking, police can intervene and fine them,” she said, adding that the public areas (restaurants, cafes) must install No-Smoking signs in visible locations.
Fines for citizens will be set up to 50,000 drams given the situation. If a restaurant manager has failed to notify that smoking is prohibited then the restrauant itself will be fined from 150 to 250 thousand drams.
Airing tobacco advertisements on TV are subject to an up to 750,000 dram fines.
Nanushyan emphasized that the bill is not targeting smokers, it is directed for preserving public health. Moreover, the bill also envisages support for smokers who are willing to quit.
Director of the National Healthcare Institute Alexander Bazarchyan said they’ve closely worked with different stakeholder parties during the development of the bill package. He said they’ve studied international practice and leading experts have been involved.
“The claims that banning smoking in enclosed areas and entertainment venues might harm the businesses is not appropriate. Different countries’ experience shows that these restrictions haven’t anyhow impacted businesses. Currently, dozens of restaurants and entertainment facilities have already switched to a No Smoking mode without even the bill being passed yet, which is commendable,” he said.
Bazarchyan said the law will equate ordinary cigarettes with the new types of smoking products, thus if traditional cigarettes are banned then the e-cigarettes and other tobacco products will be banned also.
Russian expert Viktor Chikov said at the news briefing that Russia has introduced a similar law back in 2013. He said a complete package has been adopted, with strict fines, which envisages a smoking ban in enclosed areas.
“Studies showed that after passing the bill not only the number of supporters grew but also the number of those willing to quit smoking. Today the tobacco industry is constantly applying aggressive marketing, is circulating new tobacco methods to widely sell its own production. Do not give in to these methods. Do not be misled that the new tobacco devices aren’t that harmful. All tobacco products are highly hazardous and it is undeniable that tobacco is a risk factor for numerous diseases,” he said.
Chikov also dismissed claims that businesses might be negatively impacted from the ban.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan