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Smoking banned in public areas from May 1


Natia Gogolashvili

Stopwatch is on – campaign “Let Us Get Free from Tobacco Smoke!” commenced on February 28. The communication strategy elaborated for the implementation of the legislation aims to raise awareness, to mobilize and enhance engagement of the population and business sector, organizations/institutions in the process, so that everybody met the new amendments ready, which will go in force on May 1, 2018.

The communication campaign “Let Us Get Free from Tobacco Smoke!” about the introduction of the Law on Tobacco Control was presented by the Parliamentary Committee on Healthcare and Social Issues, Ministry of Healthcare and Social Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the secretariat of the tobacco control framework convention of the World Health Organization.

The 9th convocation of the Parliament of Georgia finished reform of the legislation about tobacco control on May 17, 2017 and adopted the restricting regulations. Head of the Tobacco Control Alliance Giorgi Bakhturidze said the amendments aim to protect citizens from fatal impact of the tobacco smoke on their health. 

“Years-long joint effort finally had a result and the parliament made strong political decision, which will be enforced in two months. Today we are launching information-communication campaign. I hope this campaign will engage as many people as possible. It is important to provide the society and business operators with full information. The smoking is prohibited inside all buildings except residential flats, casinos and cigar bars. We hope soon smoking will be banned in those places too because our citizens work there, who do not smoke and have to work in critically grave, slavery conditions. Currently, taxi is an exception among transportation means. The Ministry of Economics was fighting hard for that. Now the solution was found. The Tbilisi City Hall announced that taxi businesses will be obliged to get licenses. Consequently, we call on the Mayor to include prohibition of smoking in the cars in their regulations,” Giorgi Bakhturidze said.

“From May 1, our citizens, who smoke, shall leave buildings and smoke. They have entire territory of Georgia - 68 thousand square meters for that and eventually the smoking area will be reducing. It will be done in favor of their compatriots, to save their health and lives,” the chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Healthcare and Social Issues said. 

There is high indicator of tobacco epidemic in Georgia: active smokers – 33%; passive smokers -39%. 2/3 of the population is under impact of the smoke. According to tobacco epidemic, Georgia ranks 12th in the world and 2nd places in Europe. The surveys show that in public schools, at least every eighth student of the tenth grade (12%) regularly smokes; every second has tried to smoke a tobacco and every fifth (19%) has tried to smoke electronic cigarette. Every year, 70 000 persons get sick of new diseases caused by tobacco and number of death facts has reached 11 000; 300 of them are minors.

“The main purpose of our events today and next days will be to raise public awareness. We have well-grounded information about the damage caused by tobacco. I sincerely believe that soon the tobacco control will play as important role in healthcare as antiseptics, discovery of antibiotics and vaccination in the past. I believe that with its significance and scale the tobacco control will be placed next to those important achievements. We will really manage to survive lives of thousands of people,” the Minister of Labor, Healthcare and Social Defense Davit Sergeenko said.

The Georgian legislative reform covered 11 out of internationally acknowledged 20 effective legislative measures, which makes the implemented amendments impressive. Prohibition of smoking in all public buildings and transport, prohibition of all forms of advertising, sponsorship and popularization, adding pictograms on boxes and increasing their space, regulation of electronic cigarettes and containers, standardized wrapping, determination of flexible and effective administration mechanism and other significant restrictions are the correct steps taken by the state to promote healthcare policy in the country. 

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