Tobacco use undermines economic growth in Armenia, report says – Panorama


“Tobacco-related diseases cost the Armenian economy 273.1 billion AMD each year, or the equivalent of 4.2% of GDP each year. They are also responsible for around 5,500 deaths in Armenia each year, ”says the new report jointly produced by the Armenian Ministry of Health, UNDP, the Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and WHO, and funded by the UK government.

On November 1, 2021, the report was officially launched in Armenia with the participation of Shombi Sharp, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Armenia, Anahit Avanesyan, Armenian Minister of Health, John Gallagher, UK Ambassador to Armenia, Natia Natsvlishvili , UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo, Head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat, and Oleg Storozhenko, WHO Special Representative, Country Office in Armenia.

The CCSA investment case finds that tobacco use undermines economic growth in Armenia and hinders the country’s efforts to increase health and economic efficiency.

“Our modeling shows that effective tobacco control in Armenia will not only save thousands of precious lives, but will also dramatically increase overall economic growth, resulting in higher tax revenues that can be invested in better health and education. We therefore congratulate the National Assembly of Armenia for winning the 2021 United Nations Prize for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases following the new law of 2020 on the reduction and prevention of harm caused by use. tobacco. And now, in times of a pandemic, with smoking being one of the most devastating underlying factors in COVID-19 mortality, it is more important than ever! Said Shombi Sharp, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Armenia.

“In Armenia, more than a quarter of the population (28%) between the ages of 18 and 69 currently uses some form of tobacco. Tobacco control is one of the priority areas of the Ministry of Health of Armenia and we highly appreciate the support of international partners in this area. The Armenia Tobacco Control Investment Case analyzed the health and economic costs of tobacco use, as well as the potential benefits of strengthening tobacco control in Armenia. The investment program is a tool for the ministries in their initiatives to prevent and combat the adverse effects of tobacco products and tobacco substitutes, ”said Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan.

“The UK is pleased to support this important project to help the Armenian government implement tobacco control measures. The COVID-19 pandemic makes Armenia’s commitment to smoke-free indoor spaces more important than ever. I am confident that the Armenian government will make the most of the FCTC 2030 project as part of its active efforts to protect and promote the public health and sustainable development of the Armenian people, ”said John Gallagher, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Armenia .

“UNDP is a proud partner of the FCTC 2030 project. As an organization dedicated to sustainable development, we are committed to tobacco control because we recognize its essential role in protecting health and socio-economic well-being. The effects of the tobacco epidemic extend across the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as it exacerbates inequalities, deepens poverty and slows economic growth, ”said Natia Natsvlishvili, resident representative of the UNDP in Armenia.

One of the most cost-effective ways to improve people’s lives and advance sustainable development is through the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

“As part of the FCTC 2030 project, we are helping Armenia to implement priority tobacco control activities, including a new national tobacco control strategy, promoting effective multisectoral coordination, strengthening compliance with the new tobacco control law and the introduction of plain tobacco packaging. some products. I urge Armenia to consider implementing a higher taxation policy on all tobacco products, ”said Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo, head of the WHO FCTC secretariat.

“The analysis of CCSA’s investment cases will generate strong evidence of the magnitude of the direct and indirect health and economic burden of tobacco in the country and, hopefully, will contribute to more stringent tobacco control measures that will protect the Armenian population from tobacco-related harm, ”said Oleg Storozhenko. , WHO Special Representative, Country Office in Armenia.

Tobacco use is associated with more serious COVID-19 illness. Tackling tobacco and COVID-19 together can reduce the health and economic burdens on both.

Investing now in seven proven tobacco control measures that reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke can significantly reduce the major tobacco burden in Armenia.

The economic benefits of strengthening tobacco control in Armenia outweigh the costs of implementation (AMD 889.1 billion in economic benefits over 15 years, compared to AMD 10.4 billion invested). The seven modeled tobacco control measures have positive returns on investment.

Investing in these seven tobacco control measures over 15 years can save AMD 246.4 billion in health costs, of which 13% goes to the government, 84% to individuals who would have made direct payments and the remaining 3%. to the private sector. insurance and other sources of health spending.

Increasing tobacco taxes in Armenia would reduce the affordability of tobacco products, decrease consumption, reduce the burden of tobacco-related diseases and increase income. In addition, the total economic benefit resulting from the reduction in tobacco consumption over the next 15 years is equivalent to 4.1 percent of Armenia’s annual GDP.

Results on the annual tobacco load in Armenia

Each year, more than 5,500 deaths are due to tobacco-related illnesses, accounting for almost 20% of all deaths in the country. These deaths include approximately 2,255 deaths from ischemic heart disease, 906 deaths from lung cancer and over 500 deaths each from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lower respiratory tract infections.

More than half (52%) of tobacco-related deaths are premature, that is, they occur in people under the age of 70. Almost one-fifth (19%) of tobacco-related deaths are due to exposure to second-hand smoke.

The economic losses from tobacco have almost reached the expected economic contraction in Armenia due to COVID-19 (4.5% in 2020) – every year.

Of the total burden (273.1 billion AMD) due to tobacco, 28% is attributed to health spending (75.8 billion AMD), while 72% (197.3 billion AMD) to lost productivity caused by people leaving the labor market prematurely due to death or disability and smoking breaks at work.

Investing in seven tobacco control measures over 15 years would prevent more than 23,000 deaths and reduce premature mortality (under 70) by one third of noncommunicable diseases.

Fully scaling up the seven tobacco control measures would prevent more than 23,200 deaths and prevent AMD 889.1 billion in health costs and economic losses by 2034.

For every Armenian dram invested in seven tobacco control measures, Armenia would receive 38 AMD in avoided costs and economic losses by 2024 and 86 AMD by 2034. 2034.

• For every Armenian dram invested in improving tobacco warning labels, Armenia will receive 19 AMD by 2024 and 56 AMD by 2034 (WHO FCTC Article 11)

• For every Armenian dram invested in protecting people from tobacco smoke in public places, Armenia will receive 8 AMD by 2024 and 99 AMD by 2034 (WHO FCTC Article 8)

• For every Armenian dram invested in increasing tobacco taxes, Armenia will receive 377 AMD by 2024 and 888 AMD by 2034 (WHO FCTC Article 6)

• For every Armenian dram invested in tobacco advertising bans, Armenia will receive 70 AMD by 2024 and 383 AMD by 2034 (WHO FCTC Article 13)

• For every Armenian dram invested in a mass media campaign against tobacco, Armenia will receive 23 AMD by 2024 and 292 AMD by 2034 (WHO FCTC Article 12)

• For every Armenian dram invested in plain packaging, Armenia will receive 56 AMD by 2024 and 216 AMD by 2034. (WHO FCTC Article 11: Guidelines, and Article 13)

• For every Armenian dram invested in weaning: a brief advice to leave Armenia will receive AMD 3.3 by 2024 and AMD 13 by 2034 (WHO FCTC Article 14)

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