The tobacco market and tobacco farming are highly regulated in all seven countries in the region, but the influence of different actors on the tobacco market depends on local circumstances.
Tobacco is not traditionally grown widely in the region. The only exception is Macedonia, which has a long history and tradition of cultivating and exporting raw tobacco.
One of the key characteristics of all countries in the region is that production comes from small family farms. However, over the years the number of farms has been decreasing across the region, with the size of farms showing a slight increase.
While major decreases in raw tobacco farming occurred during the period from 2000-2010, which is not presented, data presented still reflects the decreasing trend in most countries of the region.
Trends in the volume of foreign trade of tobacco in the SEE region depend on the country. While the volume of imports has been increasing in Serbia, Macedonia, and Croatia, in other countries it has been declining. The volume of exports has significantly reduced in Croatia, while in other countries there has been no significant change since 2010
A different set of factors shaped the trends in tobacco products manufacturing in the SEE region after 2000. Major domestic tobacco manufacturers were privatized, while international tobacco companies entered the market.
Large international tobacco companies have significantly expanded their production and sales in the SEE region. Locally-owned manufacturing companies have lost market share after multinationals entered the market and multinational brands replaced the domestic ones. Table 4 presents the major multinational companies in the region by country as manufacturers or importers/wholesalers.
Tobacco consumption including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and cigars, varies by country within the SEE region. Smoking prevalence rates in the region vary significantly, ranging from 28.7% in Albania, to 45.9% in Montenegro in 2016. In all countries in the region (except Kosovo) more than one quarter of the total population are daily smokers. However, a decreasing trend in prevalence is evident in all countries except Croatia.