Tobacco control in Serbia – what control?
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Clinic for Pulmology, Clinical Center of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia
Publication date: 2018-06-13
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2018;4(Supplement):A209

Aim and Objective
Tobacco smoking is the world-wide health problem, with about billion smokers worldwide, over 6 million deaths caused by smoking only in 2016 and estimated 100 million deaths caused by smoking since end of WW II. In Serbia, smoking is also widespread poor habit. Over 34% of adult population actively smokes and more than half of overall population is exposed to tobacco smoke.

Estimated cigarette consumption of cigarettes in Serbia is 2924 per year, which places it on second place in Europe. About 58/100 smokers per year die from cardiovascular event and 17/100 from malignancy. Public awareness about health problems caused by smoking is very high, with 87% of active smokers agree that smoking is cause of serious health. But, majority of them is still reluctant to accept smoking banning from public places, such as public sport places, pools and even children playgrounds.

Tobacco control in Serbia is regulated by Law on population protection from tobacco smoke. National office for tobacco prevention, which works in the Institute for Public Health of Serbia is responsible to lead and coordinate smoking cessation and prevention activities in Serbia. Several Departments for smoking cessation exist in major health institutions in Serbia, and occasionally major public campaigns are launched national wide. Unfortunately, the Law is not strictly enforced, or not enforced at all, and itself has several concessions to restaurant and bar owners. Inefficient implementation of the Law together with general poor attitude of population in upholding the regulations and lowest prices of cigarettes in Europe are cause of above mentioned data.

Stricter implementation of regulation, sharp increase in taxes on tobacco products and persistent activities on rising public awareness of health problems caused by smoking are some of the measures that could, at least, reduce the consumption of tobacco products in Serbia.
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