Ban on Tobacco advertising in Macedonia starts December 8, 2008..

December 8, 2008 - Full ban on advertising tobacco products in Macedonia has come into force today, 12/8/2008. Pursuant to the alterations to the Law on Smoking of 2006, all advertisements on tobacco products have to be removed from the bars and restaurants, retail and service shops. The ban applies also to indirect advertising of cigarettes by displaying a logo, specific lettering, signs, symbols and slogans, which were used in advertising, or raise associations on those products. The vendors are allowed to display cigarettes in the original packaging along with price tags. The fines for violation of the ban on cigarettes advertisements range from 2,000 to 4,500 euros (USD 2,589.92 to 5,827.32).

Studies show that one-third of the Macedonian population smokes a pack a day. And up to 8% of those smokers are aged 13 to 15. Only 5% of smokers plan to give up the habit. According to data collected by the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 35% of the total population in Macedonia (700,000) smoke and the number of smokers constantly rises. According to The Economist's 2008 World Rankings Book, the average Macedonian (man, woman, and child) smokes 7.1 cigarettes per day, ranking our country on the Second place in the list of the Most Smoking Countries on Earth. Only its southern neighbors, the Greeks, smoke more than the Macedonians, they are ranked first with an average of 8.4 cigarettes per day. Russia is third and all other Balkan countries seem to score very high too. (MACEDONIA SMOKES AT THE TOP, MacedoniaDaily, 11/24/2007)

As of January 1, 2006 Macedonia adopted a law restricting indoor smoking in official environments to well-separated areas. However, a recent study found a high prevalence and a high level of exposure to ETS (environmental tobacco smoke, secondhand smoke, passive smoking, involuntary smoking) in the workplace. The authors recommended stricter adherence to smoking-free legislation or even the total ban of smoking in the workplace. (WORKPLACE ETS EXPOSURE IN MACEDONIA NOW Jordan MINOV et al. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol 2008;59:103-109 Paper..

The Macedonian government amended the Law on Tobacco and Tobacco Products and the Antismoking Law in March 2008, launching an intensified nationwide campaign against smoking. Starting in mid-2009, cigarette packs will be required to depict photos of smokers' diseased organs. Also, starting October 2008, Macedonia banned smoking in all public places, except cafes, bars and night clubs, which will follow in January 2010. The ban comes after the previous policy of setting aside separate tables for smokers in restaurants and other establishments proved ineffective at improving air quality for nonsmokers. (Anti-smoking campaign underway in Macedoniaby Zoran Nikolovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje, 4/16/2008)

Reference: Ban on Tobacco advertising in Macedonia/, 12/8/2008.

Euromonitor - more information on tobacco in Macedonia.

IMAGE - "There, where the Sun shines forever - there is Macedonia", says an old popular song.

Macedonia is a party (June 30, 2006) to the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) - the global anti-tobacco treaty.