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Georgia Marked the Day “World without Tobacco” with New Law


Natia Gogolashvili

On May 30, the Parliamentary Committee on Healthcare and Social Issues of Georgia marked the international day World without Tobacco and held reception in the parliament of Georgia. Representatives of the Parliament of Georgia, Government, President’s Administration, representatives of the institutions, who were members of the Tobacco Control Governmental Commission, representatives of the international and local NGOs participated in the event. 

The ninth convocation Parliament of Georgia finalized the reform in the tobacco control legislation on May 17 and passed the drastic regulations through third hearing. The law makers say with the amendments Georgia joined the list of countries, who have the most effective regulations in this field. The new amendments aim to protect health of smokers and non-smokers instead restricting the rights of the smokers.

“The Georgian legislative reform includes 11 measures out of 20 effective legislative measures in the international practice that makes the amendments impressive. Prohibition of smoking in all public buildings and transports, prohibition of advertising, sponsorship and all forms of tobacco popularization, adding pictograms on cigarette boxes, regulations about electronic cigarettes and charger containers, standardized packaging, smooth and effective mechanism of administration and other significant restrictions are the correct steps taken by the state to support the healthcare in the country. 26 surveys conducted in the USA, Canada, Australia and Germany proved that the prohibition of smoking in working places reduces the number of smokers at 3.8%; those who continue smoking, reduce number of smoked cigarettes at 3.1 pieces,” the information spread by the Parliament of Georgia reads.

The Center for Disease Control was one of the authors of the bill. Director of the Center Amiran Gamkrelidze said the Parliament adopted the revolutionary law.

“One of the most progressive amendments were introduced into the legislation, which first of all aim to improve the health conditions of our population. Our population will feel the impact in several years. With the new law, we took another step towards EU and civilized world. EU regulates the rules of the games, which were launched long ago. These rules allowed the EU and successful western states to reduce the mortality with the most significant diseases: cardio-vascular diseases, chronic diseases of lung and to suspend oncologic diseases at early age, etc. Tobacco is the number one risk-factor for all these diseases. Unfortunately, Georgia was among the top-smoker countries. Only education and awareness-raising could not resolve this problem unless some restrictions and sanctions are not introduced. Prohibition of smoking in public places, banned advertising and plain packaging, or other restrictions are also very important amendments,” Amiran Gamkrelidze said. 

“We can state that Georgia is marking the international day World without Tobacco with proud. Because with this law we finalized very significant stage of the struggle of the Georgian medical society, international healthcare specialists, NGOs, all active citizens and our youth, who were fighting against the number one reason of high mortality and diseases in Georgia. We are fully aware that it is very important first step towards this goal that is struggle against tobacco, for life. But it is just a step and the most important is the public support in the implementation of the law,” chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Social Issues Akaki Zoidze said.

Tobacco Control Alliance is the co-author of the bill. Head of the Alliance Giorgi Bakhturidze underlined the importance of effective implementation of the law. He said without effective enforcement of the law, we will receive the same legislation which Georgia already had but was not implemented.

“What is the cost of people’s lives? 10 million USD? 100 million USD? or it cannot be evaluated? None of these answers are correct. The correct answer is: 6 000 USD! At least, the tobacco industry companies give this price,” it is extract from the film which was produced by the World Cancer Association and the representative of the World Health Organization Marijan Ivanusha started his speech with these words.

“The tobacco industry benefits 6 000 USD from each smoker, because they sell the product which kills. But the industry has its own problems – these people (the dead people) quit smoking. Instead, the tobacco industry needs their replacements. But who will replace them? Who will trust them? – Children. As a result, we receive collapse. Tobacco kills every third child, who starts smoking. Finally, as a result of smoking, 6 million people die per year in the world,” Marijan Ivanusha said.

According to the World Health Organization, prohibition of advertising, popularization and sponsorship of tobacco products will reduce number of smokers at average 7% and in some countries it even reached – 16%. 

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