CONFERENCE PROCEEDING
Smokers’ and non-smokers’ receptivity to smoke-free air policies and related messaging in support and opposition in Armenia and Georgia
 
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1
National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, Tbilisi, Georgia
2
Department of Preventive and Community Health, Milken School of Public Health, George Washington University, Washington, United States
3
George Washington Cancer Center, George Washington University, Washington, United States
4
National Institute of Health named after academician S. Avdalbekyan, MoH, Yerevan, Armenia
5
Turpanjian School of Public Health, American University of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia
6
Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, United States
7
Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, United States
Publication date: 2020-10-22
 
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(Supplement):A18
 
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ABSTRACT
Background:
Public smoke-free policies are effective in reducing smoking prevalence and secondhand smoke exposure (SHSe). Armenia and Georgia have high smoking rates in men (>50%), high SHSe rates (>40%), and recently proposed or implemented smoke-free legislation.

Objectives:
The study aimed to investigate opportunities to promote smoke-free policies in Georgia and Armenia.

Methods:
In 2018, we surveyed residents (aged 18–64 years) of 28 cities in Armenia (n=705) and Georgia (n=751) and examined receptivity to smoke-free policies in various settings (1=strongly oppose; 5=strongly support) and persuasiveness of messaging in support or opposition (1=not at all; 4=extremely) among smokers and non-smokers.

Results:
Participants had a mean age of 43.4 years, 60.5% were female, 67.9% of low education, 49.0% were employed, 54.9% with income >500 GEL/100000 AD, 72.9% were married and 51.0% were parents. Across settings, non-smokers indicated greater support for smoke-free policies (p<0.05). The greatest support (mean >4/5) was for policies in healthcare; religious, government and workplace settings; public transport; schools; and vehicles with children present. The least support (mean <3/5) was for policies in outdoor areas of bars or restaurants. Support was mixed (mean 3/5 and 4/5), and showed pronounced differences in non-smokers versus smokers (mean >1), regarding indoor and outdoor areas of bars or restaurants, multi-unit housing, and outdoor public areas. Messaging in support of policies was perceived as more persuasive among non-smokers (p<0.05). The most compelling strategy among smokers and non-smokers focused on the right to breathe clean air (M±SD: 3.4±0.9 vs 3.7±0.6); the least compelling highlighted no impact on businesses (2.5±1.1 vs 2.9±1.0). The most compelling messaging in opposition focused on using smoking/non-smoking sections ( 2.8±1.1 vs 2.8±1.2); the least compelling was a negative impact on businesses (2.2±1.1 vs 2.1±1.1).

Conclusions:
Specific settings may present challenges for advancing smoke-free policies. Messaging focusing on individual rights to clean air and health may garner support for such policies.

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