Background In March 2005, Armenia enacted legislation protecting employees from secondhand smoke. This research was the first attempt to understand the attitudes, beliefs and practices of managers of public and private enterprises regarding smoke-free worksite policies.
Methods Mixed methods were used. The study team conducted focus group discussions with worksite administrators to explore their beliefs, attitudes and practices related to worksite smoking. These findings guided development of a quantitative instrument to collect more representative data on the same issues. Using stratified random sampling, 243 worksites were interviewed from June-July 2005, representing state/municipal, health, educational, culture and business institutions in three of Armenia's largest cities.
Results/Discussion Smoking-related practices differed significantly across institutions. More than half of the managers (55.6%) reported having smoking restrictions at worksites, including 37.0% who reported smoke-free workplaces; however, smoking or the presence of ashtrays was observed in 27.8% of workplaces reported to be smoke-free. A substantial proportion of the administrators favored both banning indoor smoking and allowing smoking in special areas. Only 38.0% of managers were aware of employees' existing legal protections from exposure to secondhand smoke. Knowledge of these regulations was not related to adherence to smoke-free worksite policies. The research also revealed widespread confusion between the concepts of worksite smoking restrictions and smoke-free workplaces. Public awareness campaigns that promote promulgation and enforcement of worksite smoking regulations could increase employee demand for smoke-free worksites.
Conclusion As one of the first studies to investigate smoking-related worksite practices, attitudes and beliefs in former Soviet countries, these findings provide insight into law enforcement processes in economies in transition.
- Worksite smoking
- passive smoking
- post-Soviet countries
- environmental tobacco smoke
- public policy
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Funding This study was carried out within a grant from Research for International Tobacco Control (RITC) and the International Development Research Center (IDRC) in Ottawa, Canada supported by the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative (CTCRI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the American University of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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