SARAJEVO, November 19, 2018 – "A Life in Smoke" event to actively support and raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco smoke and the necessity to ban indoor smoking in all public places throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was held in Banja Luka, Mostar and Sarajevo on November 16-17, 2018.
"A Life in Smoke" – a creative exhibit which attracted over 10.000 people, aimed at showing what the fight of citizens for clean air in public spaces full of tobacco smoke looks like. Citizens expressed their support to the Klima bez dima ("Climate without Smoke") initiative under which the two-day event was organized with an aim to receive public support for new legislation that would ban smoking in indoor public areas. Many of the supporters are smokers themselves.
This event provided an opportunity for visitors to see a unique presentation of harmful effects of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.
“This campaign is not about taking cigarettes away from adults that choose to smoke”, stated Emanuel Salinas, World Bank Country Manager for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. “It is about protecting children and those who choose not to smoke by enabling tobacco-free indoor public space and creating an environment where they will not be the victims of tobacco smoke.”
Every year around 9,000 people die in BiH due to tobacco-related diseases; 900 of these people are passive smokers, including children, who are exposed to second-hand smoke from smokers around them and in public places. If no action is taken, 180,000 people will die prematurely of tobacco-related diseases in BiH in the next two decades.
This regrettable loss of lives has a major impact on families, communities and the country as a whole, and the cost of treating smoking-related diseases is a major burden to the whole society.
"There are 7,000 ingredients, or rather poisons, in tobacco smoke. That is 7,000 reasons that cannot be ignored or be subjected to partial solutions. Right to health does not stop where someone's right to choice begins, and smoking is risk to smoker's health but also to health of other people,” stressed Prof. Dr. Aida Ramić, Public Health Institute of FBiH.
This highlights the enormous risk that this has for a large part of the population and how this translates into unnecessary illnesses.
“Active smokers have roughly about 20 times higher chance of getting cancer, and non-smokers living with smokers have a 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer. The figures are relentless”, concluded Dr. Snežana Kutlešić Stević, Head of Pulmonary Rehabilitation Department at the Dr. Miroslav Zotović Institute in Banja Luka.
It is the responsibility of all of us to stop this epidemic in the country and we need to take action now. Adopting and enforcing entity laws on tobacco control is a priority and will make a big difference for the health of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its economy.
"A Life in Smoke" event was organized under the Klima bez dima initiative aimed at raising awareness and provide support to ensuring an environment free of tobacco smoke in public places in order to protect the health of the population in BiH. This initiative is part of the Reducing Health Risk Factors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a project supported by the Government of Switzerland and implemented by the World Bank in partnership with the entity Ministries of Health, entity Public Health Institutes and other local stakeholders.
To learn more about this initiative, please visit: