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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Understanding Armenia's elevated smoking rates

Benjamin D. Dobrin, PhD, Health and Human Services Deaprtment, Virginia Wesleyan College, 1584 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502, 757-455-3412, bdobrin@vwc.edu

While we know the rate of tobacco consumption in Armenia to be very high; 77% of all Armenian men smoke, we know very little about the reasons behind this. This study entailed conducting a phenomenologically based ethnography in Armenia to gain a greater understanding of smoking behaviors. In addition to interviewing smokers, a State Health Officer and State Social Services Director were interviewed about tobacco laws and regulations as well as tobacco education programs. Smoking seems to be a response to the harsh life that most Armenians face. The country has a unique, and difficult past. In the early 20th century, Armenia was victimized by a genocide, and later became occupied by the Soviets. In the later 20th century many of the men went to fight for the Soviets in Afghanistan, where they suffered great losses. Then in 1988 Armenia had a devastating earthquake, and in 1991 they had to deal with the disastrous effects of the Soviets pulling out all economic, health, and military support. Today there is very high unemployment and very little opportunity within the country. The Armenians in this study smoked as a response to their difficult personal and social situations. Most of the people in this study discussed the reasons they smoked as a response to either being in Afghanistan, the earthquake, or being under- or unemployed. They are very present oriented and do not think about future ramifications to their smoking behaviors. Their lives are very difficult, and they derive pleasure from smoking with out much concern for the long term ramifications. Tobacco is a very important part of the Armenian economy, and while there are laws concerning smoking in certain public spaces, they are for the most part ignored. Armenia is at a crossroads, and the smoking problem needs to be addressed.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Tobacco, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Communications Approaches to Achieve Healthy Lifestyles

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA