A full ban on indoor smoking in Serbia might come into effect by the end of the year, as envisaged by the amendments to the Law on Protecting the Population from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke.
The amendments to this law should be adopted over the next six months.
This measure, as said, is an attempt to address the problem of smoking in Serbia. According to the statistics, a third of the populace in Serbia are smokers, and 15,000 people die each year from the consequences of inhaling tobacco smoke, 5,000 of which from lung cancer.
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“Eighty per cent of our patients are former or current smokers. There are young people in their thirties who experience a myocardial infarction, and many people who have gangrene that requires amputation of limbs and permanent disability,” notes vascular surgeon Dr Petar Popov.
Tobacco smoke increases the risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease in non-smokers too.
“Serbia loses about two per cent of its GDP a year due to the effects of smoking. This is due not only because of the costs of treatment but also because of the costs incurred by companies,” says director of the Serbian Office of the World Health Organization, Marijan Ivanuša.
Smoking is one of the main causes of chronic non-infectious diseases that can be prevented.
“The countries that were first to ban smoking indoors have reduced the number of malignancies by 20 per cent in 25 years. Their explanation is that this is due to drastic control measures in terms of tobacco use,” says the Chairwoman of the State Expert Committee for Tobacco Control, Srmena Krstev.