World No Tobacco Day celebrated in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia


From right to left: Natasa Dimitrievska, Communication Officer, Institute of Public Health; Marija Vrckovska, Center for Public Health – Bitola; Elena Kosevska, WHO Technical Focal Point for Tobacco Prevention and Control; Silvana Onceva, Institute of Public Health.

As part of the biennial collaborative agreement 2016–2017, WHO in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Institute of Public Health marked World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on 31 May 2016 in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by organizing a technical event, followed by a press conference.

Participants at the event were representatives of the Ministry of Health and 10 public health centres, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the State Sanitary Inspectorate, the Health Insurance Fund, the tobacco industry and the media.

Get ready for plain packaging

The aim of the event was to transfer the message of WNTD 2016 "Get ready for plain packaging" to policy-makers, civil society and the public, as well as to share relevant national data related to tobacco prevention and control.

The event was opened by Professor Dr Elena Kosevska, WHO National Technical Focal Point for Tobacco Prevention and Control. She presented the key WHO messages to the audience, highlighting that plain packaging is an important measure that reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts the use of tobacco packaging as a form of tobacco advertising and promotion, limits misleading packaging and labelling, and increases the effectiveness of health warnings.

"Plain packaging builds upon other measures as part of a comprehensive multisectoral approach to tobacco control. Policy-makers, civil society and the public can take action to ensure that their governments consider adoption of plain packaging," said Dr Kosevska.

Dr Silvana Oncheva, Social Medicine Specialist at the Institute of Public Health, presented information on the tobacco prevalence among children in the country, the influence of advertising, promotion and sponsorship by tobacco industry, and findings from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study and ESPAD – the European School survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs.

Dr Marija Vrckovska, Social Medicine Specialist at the Center for Public Health – Bitola, presented the results of the 10 counselling centres for tobacco cessation since 2014, and the work related to tobacco cessation at national land regional levels.

WNTD 2016 posters and brochure were translated into local languages and printed with WHO support. They were distributed to relevant institutions at national and regional levels, and were available on the websites of the Ministry of Health and the Institute of Public Health.

Information related to celebration of the event was aired on local television stations and published in newspapers. National experts participated on radio talk shows to disseminate information on the topic.