Four regional TV companies carried out anti-smoking campaigns in Tavush, Armavir and Kapan regions. The campaigns included PSAs, talk-shows, reports and interviews. On June 16, these TV companies presented their campaigns to representatives of Mass Media, relevant local and international organizations.
In cooperation with the Internews, the Center for Health Services Research and Development (CHSR) at the American University of Armenia (AUA) worked with journalists to deepen their understanding of the real threats posed by the tobacco epidemic in Armenia. The current project focused on building capacity among journalists working in regions of Armenia.
An intensive one-and-half day training session on tobacco control issues took place in Tsakhkadzor in December 2005, followed by a competition open to all regional TV companies. A professional jury selected four winning proposals for the implementation of anti-smoking media campaigns in three regions of Armenia. The companies selected were: Lori TV (Vanadzor), Fortuna (Stepanavan), ALT (Armavir), and Khustup TV (Kapan). The on-site training provided by the Internews experts facilitated the creation of anti-smoking media campaigns in these regions.
According to Dr. Narine Movsisyan, a leading Armenian tobacco control advocate and a Project Coordinator at the AUA/CHSR, “The heavy burden of smoking to the Armenian society is yet to be largely recognized in Armenia. Smoking is the primary risk factor for the leading causes of death in Armenia, namely cardiovascular disease and cancer. We are loosing about 2000 human lives due to smoking each year in Armenia and these premature deaths are totally preventable. We should spread the knowledge about risks of smoking and the risks of exposure to tobacco smoke to everyone, especially to people in rural areas of Armenia, who are already disadvantaged in terms of access to information.”