According to Tobacco Atlas, more than 2000 children (age10-14) and 500,000 adults (~50% of men) use tobacco every day. Tobacco use generally has a larger negative impact on the lowest income citizens, and also has an outsized impact on men with nearly 30% of male deaths in Armenia caused by tobacco related disease. Tobacco use damages health over long periods of time and has massive economic impacts for families who spend money unnecessarily on tobacco and have additional medical expenses from tobacco related disease.
In addition to the outsized loss tobacco causes on citizen's health, tobacco also creates huge losses for the government. Tobacco use decreases overall productivity,meaning daily smokers (~50% of men) are less economically productive than they usually would be. Second, tobacco related diseases often require expensive treatments (ex. cancer incidences are highly correlated to tobacco use) which causes a high burden on the state health budget that could be used for other priorities. Finally, increased tobacco taxes almost always lead to higher state revenues which can be earmarked for highly effective uses in health or put into the general coffers. It's estimated that the total economic cost (including direct & indirect costs) of smoking in Armenia is ~39,568,212 USD.
With the electing of the new Armenian government, which enjoys major popular support, there is an opportunity to work with an open and progressive political party that hasa mandate to create change. In addition, the Health Ministry and others have indicated publicly that tobacco control is a priority area internally and the current tobacco tax mandate (15% YoY increase) expires in 2021 and the legislation will need to be updated. A current tobacco control bill is being considered by parliament and is expected to pass. It includes all measures outside taxation which needs to be handled seperately.Read More About Our Work at healthyarmenia.org