Smoking is rife in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), where the price of a pack of cigarettes is one of the lowest in Europe and Central Asia. The country ranks number 8 in the world in terms of smokers per capita and the percentage of adolescent smokers is steadily increasing.
Every year, 5 million people die worldwide directly as a consequence of tobacco smoking, with an additional half a million deaths attributed to the effects of second-hand smoke. Tobacco kills more than tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined and could kill over 1 billion people during the 21st century if effective measures are not taken, according to the World Health Organization.
Tobacco consumption is a serious health, economic, social and financial issue for BiH. The impact on its society is severe, causing an increase in diseases, disabilities and premature deaths, as well as a financial burden on smokers and their families, health service providers, and employers.
With this in mind, the World Bank, in partnership with the BiH State and Entity authorities and the Government of Switzerland, organized the International Tobacco Control Conference in Sarajevo on 5-6 November, the first conference of its kind ever held in BiH.