EUR 1.5 billion spent annually on cigarettes in Serbia

EUR 1.5 billion spent annually on cigarettes in Serbia

The number of smokers in Serbia has been declining, by around 7 percent in the last 10 years, but the total of EUR 1.5 billion is still spent on cigarettes on an annual level which almost equals the entire budget of the Republic Fund for Health Insurance, pundits warned on Wednesday.

At a news conference held in view of January 31, National No-Smoking Day, the data have been published that 1.4 million packs of cigarettes are smoked in our country on an annual level. The statistical data show that almost one in two men and one in three women smoke in Serbia.

As many as 41 percent of teenagers smoked at least one cigarette by the age of 16, and one in two households in Serbia has at least one smoker.

According to the data published in the Tobacco Atlas, only one smoker from Serbia consumes 2,861 cigarettes per year.

Dr Ika Pesic, head of the office for smoking prevention and control at the Pulmonary Clinic of the Clinical Centre of Serbia, said that on average 120-150 people turn to the office for counseling, adding that 60 percent of men and 70 percent of women quit smoking.

In comparison to the period some 10-15 years ago, a significant change took place in terms of the motivation for kicking the habit, Dr Pesic said, explaining that, apart from health concerns, smokers also cite financial reasons, and young parents- concerns about their children as the reasons for quitting.