International conference on tobacco control held in Banja Luka

An international conference titled "Tobacco Control for a Tobacco-Free Society: Intersections of Tobacco Taxation Policies and Public Health" was held on October 24 and 25, 2023, at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Banja Luka. The conference was organized by the Faculty of Economics, University of Banja Luka, as part of the project "Accelerating Progress in Tobacco and Tobacco Products Taxation in Low and Middle-Income Countries," with financial support from the Bloomberg Foundation (USA) through the University of Illinois at Chicago as the umbrella organization.

The conference brought together 44 participants, primarily experts in the field of research on the socioeconomic and other impacts of tobacco taxation as one of the most important measures of tobacco control, as well as policy-makers and activists in this field from various countries, including Austria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, the United States, North Macedonia, Slovakia, and Serbia.

The conference aimed to present the results of current research and to encourage dialogue and exchange of experiences between researchers, policy-makers, decision-makers, and activists in the field of tobacco control. In this regard, this event represented a platform for exchanging knowledge and experiences among different actors, which will result in improved cooperation and contribute to the creation and implementation of more effective tobacco control policies.

The conference was opened with introductory speeches by the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Professor Milenko Krajišnik, Ph.D., as well as the Director of the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Zoran Tegeltija, and the representative of the World Health Organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lejla Beglerović on behalf of Ervin Korman, the head of the mission in B&H. After that, Mr. Jeffrey Drope from the University of Illinois at Chicago presented the efforts of global research teams to contribute to accelerating progress in tobacco taxation through quality research and recommendations.

During the two days of the conference, research results from the aforementioned countries were presented, focusing on the area of modeling the impact of tobacco taxation on public revenues and public health, and its effect on reducing the prevalence of smoking, especially among the youth population, as well as the legal and institutional framework necessary for more adequate tobacco control policies, including taxation.