February 21. 2024. 8:10

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Serbia considers banning indoor smoking

Indoor smoking could soon be banned in Serbia as the Health Ministry is already looking for the public to support a bill on the prohibition of smoking in closed spaces.

Banning indoor smoking has become a hotly debated issue in Serbia, particularly as 6,000 people on average get lung cancer each year, while 4,600 die from it. Meanwhile, it has one of the highest smoker rates in the region and Europe.

Adopting the law is indeed very important, Prof. Dr. Dragana Jovanović, pulmonologist, pneumophthisiologist and oncologist, told EURACTIV.

“The fact is that the risk of lung cancer of smokers is 18 times higher. Among patients, 85-87% are smokers”, she added.

Protecting non-smokers is particularly important as they would inhale 40% of tobacco in a closed room. Smoking has the same effect on non-smokers as it has on active smokers, she added.

At the same time, adult non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25-30% and their risk of stroke by 20-30%. The risk of developing lung cancer increases by 20–30%.

“Children exposed to passive smoking have an increased risk of acute respiratory infections. The risk of asthma attacks in children is also increased, and it can also cause sudden infant death syndrome,” Prof. Dr. Jovanović stressed..

Children who are socially disadvantaged and exposed to tobacco smoke are particularly vulnerable, the professor added.

(EURACTIV.rs | Milena Antonijević)