Sharp rise in cigarette prices proposed to curb the Albania's addiction tobacco..

September 23, 2008 - Health experts have proposed a sharp rise in cigarette prices to curb Albania's addiction to tobacco. "If the price of cigarettes was raised by 10 per cent, we estimate consumption among youths might drop by 8 per cent," Roland Shupreka, of Albania’s Public Health Institute.

A tobacco control law took effect in May 2007, that prohibits smoking in bars, restaurants, government offices and other public locations. In theory, Albania's anti-smoking legislation is among the strictest in Europe, but activists say implementation has been far from adequate because penalties are not being enforced . It was so disappointing when only after a month or so of putting the no-smoking signs up in every restaurant and bar, the management of the places started to once again place ash trays on the tables. The law itself is not the problem, it's the enforcement of the law, or rather the non-enforcement.
The new legislation -- which also penalises media outlets that promote smoking -- has been more successful at deterring advertisements. These have largely been removed from newspapers, TV broadcasts and billboards - An Albanian man waits to sell firewood under a poster advertising western cigarettes near Tirana Thursday, Feb. 13, 1997..(AP Photo/Santiago Lyon).

Albania has 872,000 smokers out of a population of 3 million. Health experts are particularly troubled by the fact that some 15 per cent of teens aged 13-15 have reportedly taken up smoking. Albanians spent more than €300 million on tobacco products in 2007. According to national statistics, 40% of Albanians smoke regularly. Tobacco consumption increased after 1990. Before then, no more than 20% of Albanians smoked. The largest rise in tobacco consumption has occurred among youngsters and girls.

Albania's neighbor Greece May Have the Highest Cigarette Consumption Per Person in the World..

References: Cigarette Price Rise Urged in, 9/12/2008; Law fails to deter Albanian smokers by Sami Neza for Southeast European Times in Tirana, Albania - 12/11/07 and Smoke Free Albania?Stepping Stones, 2/1/2008.

Albania has ratified the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.