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January 31 – National No Tobacco Day in Serbia

This year the focus of the National No Tobacco Day is exposure to tobacco smoke „Adult smokers make me breathe heavily“. Environmental tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, among them 70 are carcinogens. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS), and each year more than 890 000 persons prematurely die due to the exposure to SHS, mostly women and children.

People are exposed to ETS on public and workplaces, in their homes and cars. As exposure to tobacco smoke is responsible for many serious health consequences, great attention has been paid to health risks and the need to ban exposure to ETS at public and workplaces, including all hospitality premises, and public transportation. Again, we focus our attention to the amendments to the Law on the Protection of the Citizens from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke (2010) that would ban smoking in hospitality sector, as well as to better compliance with the existing Law.

Myth, supported by tobacco industry, saying that there would be the decline in profit, employment and guests in bars, cafes and restaurant due to smoking ban is not true. Many independent methodologically appropriate economic studies revealed that total smoking ban has neutral or slightly positive influence on the whole hospitality sector and tourism, on the level of economy, incomes, and employment.  In countries which introduced the total smoking ban indoors slight increase in visits to restaurant and cafes has been observed having in mind that everywhere in the world there are more non-smokers then smokers. Here are some example of cities and countries, the favorite tourist destinations, in which the number of hospitality premises, number of guests and income has increased, such as New York, Paris, Turkey, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Thailand and many others. Since total smoking ban indoors has been introduced in 2013 in Russia the smoking prevalence has decline from 39% in 2009 to 31% in 2016, representing relative reduction in prevalence of 21.5%.

Tobacco epidemics takes a tool in high morbidity and mortality; therefore, it is a critical moment in the country to introduces all measures that were proofed to be successful around the world and already have positive results in reduction of smoking prevalence followed by reduction in development of serious and fatal diseases.

National No Tobacco Day will be marked in whole Serbia, and more data can be found on the website of the Institute of Public Health of Serbia „Dr. Milan Jovanović Batut.