Public attitude towards tobacco taxation policy in Armenia
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Turpanjian School of Public Health, American University of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia
Publication date: 2021-12-10
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2021;7(Supplement):27
As recommended in Article 6 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, price and tax measures are important means to effectively reduce tobacco consumption and encourage tobacco users to quit. This is particularly relevant in low- and middle-income countries.

The study aimed to investigate the public attitude towards tobacco taxation in Armenia.

In 2018, we conducted an interviewer-administered population survey in 14 communities in Armenia. We utilized random sampling strategy to identify households; then applied the KISH method to select an adult respondent in each household. The study instrument included questions on smoking characteristics and attitude towards tobacco taxation in Armenia.

Overall, 705 participants completed the survey, and 20.4% were smokers. In total, 38.5% believed that cigarette tax in Armenia was too high, with more smokers than nonsmokers indicating this (46.7% vs. 36.4%, p=0.009). Two-fifth (40.4%) were strongly against future tax increase; nearly twice as many smokers as nonsmokers opposed the tax increase (66.4% vs. 33.5, p<0.001). One-third (33.9%) indicated that tobacco products in Armenia are not affordable, (38.7% vs. 32.6%, p=0.034, smokers vs. nonsmokers, respectively). Over one-third (36.7%) believed that increasing cigarette prices would not prevent youth from starting to smoke. The majority (62.5%) did not consider price as a factor influencing smoking rates, and half thought that price does not influence smoking behavior (47.5%). However, 34.3% reported that smokers would switch to less expensive cigarettes if prices increased. Most respondents (65.2%) strongly agreed that cigarette taxes should be used to pay for smoking-related healthcare costs.

Though the tobacco tax in Armenia is below the recommended level, targeted interventions are needed to overcome negative attitudes of the public and particularly smokers while implementing tobacco price and tax recommendations. Directing cigarette taxes towards covering smoking-related healthcare costs could be one strategy to bolster support for such policies.

No Conflicts of Interest were reported.