Youth access to tobacco products 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):26
Armenia is a middle-income country with adult male smoking prevalence of 51.5% and youth smoking prevalence among those ages 11, 13 and 15 years of 1.3%, 3.5% and 4.4%, respectively. Sales of tobacco products to minors (<18 years old) has been banned since 2005 by the national tobacco law in Armenia, with provisions including compliance checks and penalizing the retailers.

The study aimed to investigate youth access to tobacco products and to explore adult behavior of sending a minor to buy cigarettes.

In 2018, we conducted an interviewer-administered population survey among adults in randomly selected households in 14 communities in Armenia. The study instrument included questions on demographics, smoking characteristics, and past-month witnessing an underage sale or per-item sale of cigarettes and/or adults requesting minors to purchase cigarettes.

Of 705 participants, 29.8% were male and 20.4% were smokers (63.8% of males, 2.0% of females). In total, 65.3% of participants reported that they had seen a minor purchasing cigarettes in the past month. Regarding adults promoting minors purchasing cigarettes, 12.8% of participants reported that they had sent a minor to buy cigarettes for themselves (the participant) or for family members; twice as many smoker versus nonsmoker participants reported doing so (21.5% vs 10.6%, p<0.001). Nearly one-fifth of participants (16.8%) had witnessed per-item sale of cigarettes.

Despite the existing law restricting the sale of tobacco products to children and youth, minors still purchase tobacco products in Armenia, sometimes by adult request. To prevent youth from smoking and reduce the overall smoking prevalence among adults in Armenia in the future, study findings underscore the need for strict enforcement of the law prohibiting tobacco sales to minors, ongoing surveillance, and educational campaigns on the importance of youth prevention.

No Conflicts of Interest were reported.
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