On October 5, 2023, the Institute of Economic Sciences (IES) hosted a round table discussion titled: Economic and public health aspects of tobacco use and the importance of multisectoral cooperation, data and research for planning measures to reduce tobacco use. The aim of this round table was to emphasize the vital role of collaboration, data, and research in shaping effective anti-tobacco strategies. The event was organized under the auspices of the project: Accelerating Progress on Effective Tobacco Tax Policies in Low-and Middle-Income Countries.
The event was opened with a welcome speech from Dr. Jovan Zubović, the IES Director, and Dr. Elma Elfić Zukorlić, Assistant Minister for Human and Minority Development Rights in Education from The Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia. Round table was also attended by Slađana Baralić Mićanović, Аdviser for the preparation and monitoring of projects and cooperation with associations and youth offices, from the Ministry of Tourism and Youth of the Republic of Serbia.
The focus of the day revolved around the Economic Aspects of Tobacco Use, with IES research team, including Dr. Aleksandar Zdravković, Dr. Olivera Jovanović, and MA Boban Nedeljković, providing insights into the economic impact of tobacco consumption. Transitioning to the public health perspective, Dr. Biljana Kilibarda from the Institute of Public Health of Serbia. "Dr. Milan Jovanovic Batut" presented the results of a research on the use of tobacco products among youth in Serbia. Dr. Anđelka Grujičić from the City Institute for Public Health in Belgrade, presented the activities and challenges that this institution faces in the implementation of activities that should contribute to the reduction of tobacco use among the population. This section, which focused on the role of these institutions in tobacco control-related activities, concluded with a presentation by Dr. Marta Sjeničić of the Institute of Social Sciences. Dr. Sjeničić provided an overview of the current regulatory landscape in Serbia and the European Union concerning tobacco consumption.
The following segment of the round table spotlighted the initiatives undertaken by Civil Society Organizations dedicated to tobacco control. Goran Zarić, representing the Propulsion Fund, presented the "Mission Oxygen" campaign, a substantial initiative aimed at reducing tobacco use among young individuals. He provided an overview of the campaign's activities and highlighted its outcomes. Additionally, Vladimir Kozbašić, representing the Center for Youth Work, discussed their organization's commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles among young people, which includes addressing the consumption of tobacco-complementary products such as alcoholic beverages.
The round table highlight was the open discussion, where participants actively shared their experiences, ideas, and strategies, illustrating the power of collective brainstorming and determination to for an effective approach in tobacco control. This event reaffirmed the commitment to multisectoral cooperation, research, and data-driven decision-making in a shared mission to reduce tobacco use in Serbia.