In most of the countries around the world cigarette sale to “underage” people is prohibited by law. The notion “underage”, however, varies from country to country. If in the States and Europe, for instance, the nation is abide by law, in Asia and post-Soviet countries both manufacturers and consumers tend to go beyond the law by all means.
As a devoted post-Soviet country Armenia too passed a bill on 25 December 2004 with the eponymous bottom line. On 19 January 2005 the very bill became a law prohibiting cigarette sale to juveniles: that is people under 18. To be more precise it is reasonable to quote some parts from the law: “this law shall regulate the legal relations of cigarette raised at the stages of placing it on the market, consumption, usage and production which is meant to protect present and future generations from cigarette and cigarette smoke with social, ecological… purposes”. Moreover, smoking was banned in public means of transportations and other public places. However, we decided to check to what extent the law works.
For our small statistics we visited 3 grand local fare supermarkets namely ‘Moskvichka’, ‘SAS’ and ‘Star’. Only in ‘Moskvichka’ there was a signboard prohibiting underage cigarette sale. The staff of the supermarkets were all aware of the law but to what extent they followed it is the other side of the coin. Needless to say that in all supermarkets the cashiers found themselves not competent to talk on this issue (otherwise they would be fired) even though all of them claimed that their employers did talk to them about the above mentioned law. Moreover, one of the male cashiers seemed to have butterflies in his stomach from our questions hinting that we were all aware of the reality: ‘’small shops sell cigarettes to underage but big supermarkets do not, period’’.
We contemplated for a while and decided to apply to the managers in order to reveal what is what. So we turned to...