Slovenia plans to set national tobacco goals
The Slovenian Minister of Health, Ms Milojka Kolar Celarc, called on participants of a national event marking World No Tobacco Day to set national tobacco goals.
Among risk factors, tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death and the leading risk factor for the loss of healthy years of life due to premature death and disability in Slovenia. Tobacco use is attributed to 19% of all deaths (27% in men and 11% women) and 21% of all deaths from chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) among Slovenians aged 30 years or more. Every year, active smoking causes almost 3600 deaths, corresponding to 10 per day, of which a quarter die before the age of 60.
No favourable changes in smoking prevalence among adults have occurred recently in Slovenia. Data from 2012 show that 24.0% of the population aged 15–64 smokes as does 22.6% of the population aged 25–64. Between 2008 and 2012, the proportion of smokers aged 25–64 years increased, while the percentage of male smokers in this age group was unchanged. More encouragingly, however, is the significant reduction in the smoking prevalence among adolescents of both sexes aged 11, 13 and 15 years between 2010 and 2014. According to data from 2014, about 13% of 15-year-olds smoke at least once a week or more.
A group composed of representatives of the state, experts and nongovernmental organizations has been meeting regularly for several years with the aim of preventing and reducing tobacco use and its harmful effects in Slovenia. Each year, a national consultation is organized on World No Tobacco Day. This year, the event was dedicated to the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, with a special focus on the anticipated adoption of new tobacco legislation.
New tobacco legislation could be strengthened with the introduction of comprehensive tobacco reduction programmes with proven effectiveness or tangible targets for reducing smoking. With the adoption of appropriate measures, Slovenia could achieve a global voluntary target as defined by the “Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013–2020”. Slovenia also aspires to become a tobacco-free country as indicated by the Ashgabat Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs in the Context of Health 2020; however, the target year is yet to be set. A national evidence brief on tobacco control will be launched before summer.