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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National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, Tbilisi, Georgia
Department of Preventive and Community Health, Milken School of Public Health, George Washington University, Washington, United States
George Washington Cancer Center, George Washington University, Washington, United States
National Institute of Health named after academician S. Avdalbekyan, MoH, Yerevan, Armenia
Turpanjian School of Public Health, American University of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia
Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, United States
Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, United States
Publication date: 2020-10-22
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(Supplement):A18
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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.

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

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.

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).

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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