YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenia’s Ministry of Health has called for a blanket ban on smoking in cafes, restaurants and all other indoor public places in the country.
A relevant bill drafted by the ministry was sent to the Armenian government for discussion and approval earlier this week.
Health Minister Arsen Torosyan is actively promoting the initiative on his Twitter page. “The time has come!!!” Torosyan wrote on Wednesday, February 6.
“From now on I won’t visit any restaurant or cafe in Armenia that allows indoor smoking until our new tobacco control law is adopted,” he tweeted in English on Thursday. “I will also promote all restaurants that voluntarily prohibit smoking NOW!”
Torosyan attached to that tweet a selfie with Environment Minister Erik Grigoryan. The two men were pictured in a rare smoke-free restaurant in Yerevan.
Armenia is a nation of heavy smokers with few restrictions on tobacco sales and use. According to Ministry of Health estimates, 55 percent of Armenian men are regular smokers. Medics blame this for a high incidence of lung cancer among them.