Smokers make up 70 pct of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat population

SARAJEVO, Apr 24, 2000 -- (AFP) About 70 percent of the population in Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation smokes cigarettes, a public health expert told AFP on Friday.

The figure is particularly alarming when compared with the level in other European countries where no more than 40 percent of citizens are smokers, said Ajnija Omanic, head of the Muslim-Croat federation's institute for public health

Ten percent of the federation's teenagers and three percent of children under ten years of age smoke, she said.

Omanic also said that the low price of cigarettes, television and radio advertising campaigns, along with a general lack of awareness of the health hazards of smoking, contributed to such a high level of tobacco consumption.

A pack of Bosnian-made cigarettes costs one German mark (about half a dollar/euro).

Omanic added that up to the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, only 54 percent of the overall population smoked.

In 1998 a law prohibiting smoking in public was passed by the federation parliament.

"Unfortunately the law is not being implemented," Omanic said.

Original article