Accelerating Progress on Effective Tobacco Tax Policies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina

The central question of this study was to determine the relationship between tobacco taxation and tobacco consumption in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). This report is the first of its kind, providing a comprehensive examination of the tobacco industry in (BiH) and an estimate of the impact of tobacco price on consumption.

Tobacco consumption continues to be prevalent among a large percentage of BiH citizens. According to official statistics, more than 40% of the country’s adults, about 1,200,600 people, consume tobacco products on a daily basis. Thus, BiH is among the top 10 countries in the world for cigarette consumption, after Montenegro, Belarus, Lebanon, Macedonia, Russia, Slovenia, Belgium, Luxembourg, and China (MarketWatch, 2014).

Smoking prevalence in BiH is close to 40% with a significant difference between men (46.9%) and women (28.5%). The gender gap has diminished over time, as the smoking prevalence has been increasing among women. Tobacco use among females, as well as among youth, is possibly a response to an increasing level of tolerance towards smoking in BiH. Among youth, tobacco use prevalence for girls (9.7%) is significantly lower than boys (15.5%).

Disparities in smoking follow noticeably different patterns across social classes. There is a strong socioeconomic gradient in smoking, with more financially secure people in BiH less likely to smoke. Additional factors that likely contribute to the high level of smoking prevalence in BiH are easy access to tobacco products, their affordability, and different forms of illicit trade of tobacco.

A corresponding Policy Brief can be found here.