CHS Three Articles Feature
, ,

CHS Publishes Three Articles on Tobacco Control

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — Varduhi Hayrumyan, MS (MPH ’16), Zhanna Sargsyan, MS (MPH ’18), and Varduhi Petrosyan, MS, PhD from the Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development of the Turpanjian College of Health Sciences (CHS) at the American University of Armenia have recently co-authored three articles published in open-access, peer-reviewed academic journals dedicated to disseminating impactful research across a range of medical disciplines, particularly public health and epidemiology: PlosOne, European Journal of Public Health, and Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. All three articles are based on the “Smoke-free air coalitions in Armenia and Georgia project: A community randomized trial” (GATHER) initiative implemented in partnership with Emory University, George Washington University, the National Institute of Health named after academician S. Avdalbekyan, the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ministry of Health of Armenia, and the Georgian National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. This multi-year project was supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center and ended in March 2023. CHS published eight articles to date based on research associated with this project.

The first paper, titled “Community Coalitions for Smoke-Free Environments in Armenia and Georgia: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Coalition Formation, Implementation and Perceived Effectiveness” and authored by Michelle C. Kegler, Ana Dekanosidze, Arevik Torosyan, Lilit Grigoryan, Shaheen Rana, Varduhi Hayrumyan, Zhanna Sargsyan, and Carla J. Berg, tested the impact of community coalitions in promoting smoke-free policy adoption and compliance in various settings guided by the Community Coalition Action Theory. The study highlighted the successful creation of 14 multi-sectoral coalitions, mostly representing education, public health, health care, and municipal administration. Half of the coalitions created at least one smoke-free policy in specific settings (e.g., factories, parks), and all 14 promoted compliance with existing policies through no-smoking signage and stickers. The majority of these coalitions also conducted awareness events in school, health care, and community settings, in addition to educating the public about COVID-19 and the dangers of tobacco use. Consistent with the theory, coalition processes (e.g. communication) were associated with member engagement and collaborative synergy, which, in turn, correlated with perceived community impact, skills gained by coalition members, and interest in sustainability. The authors suggest that community coalitions can be formed in varied sociopolitical contexts and facilitate locally-driven, multi-sectoral collaborations to promote health. Despite major contextual challenges, the coalitions remained resilient, nimble, and active. 

Smoke-free home restrictions in Armenia and Georgia: motives, barriers and secondhand smoke reduction behaviors,” authored by Carla J. Berg, Ana Dekanosidze, Varduhi Hayrumyan, Cassidy R. LoParco, Arevik Torosyan, Lilit Grigoryan, Alexander Bazarchyan, Regine Haardörfer, and Michelle C. Kegler explored theoretical predictors (e.g., motives, barriers) of smoke-free home (SFH) status, and among those without SFHs, SFH attempts over the last three months and intent to establish SFHs in the next three months. About half or 53.6% of the study participants had SFHs (Armenia: 39.2%; Georgia: 69.2%). Among those non-SFHs, 24.4% had partial restrictions and 35.5% intended to establish SFH. The study documented opening windows and limiting smoking areas as common secondhand smoke exposure (SHSe) reduction behaviors. The main motives for creating SFHs included preventing residual odors and protecting children and nonsmokers, while the primary barrier was smokers’ resistance. The study emphasized that interventions should address motives, barriers, and misperceptions regarding SHSe reduction behaviors.

The third paper, titled “Associations Between Pro/Anti-Tobacco Media and Messaging Exposure and Knowledge and Support of Smoke-Free Policy Among Adults in Armenia and Georgia” and authored by Cassidy R. LoParco, Zhanna Sargsyan, Topuridze M, Sturua L, Michelle C. Kegler, Varduhi Petrosyan, Arevik Torosyan, Lilit Grigoryan,  Alexander Bazarchyan, and Carla J. Berg, explored associations between exposure to pro-tobacco media (news opposing smoke-free policies; cigarette, e-cigarette, heated tobacco product [HTP] advertisements) and anti-tobacco media (media, community-based action) and knowledge that the policies applied to alternative tobacco products (ATPs), and support for the policies applicable to ATPs in various settings. The study showed that 70.2% of the participants were aware and supportive of the policies that applied to ATPs in various settings. The study concluded that media and community-based action may promote smoke-free policy knowledge and support. Additionally, HTP advertisements may particularly undermine smoke-free policies.

The AUA Turpanjian College of Health Sciences works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of health professionals to be leaders in public health, nursing, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.