Parliament Approves Smoking Restrictions

The 150-member Parliament of Georgia has finally adopted amendments to the Tobacco Control Law with 85 votes for and only one against on May 17.

The legislative amendments envisions that from May 1, 2018, smoking of tobacco, including electronic cigarette and chillum, will be prohibited in all enclosed areas except for houses, psychiatric clinics, penitentiary facilities and casinos.

Smoking of cigars will be allowed only in cigar-bars, where food products will not be sold. In addition, a special license will be necessary to open such a bar.

From May 1, 2018, advertisements for tobacco products will be prohibited, and it will be necessary to show anti-tobacco advertising at the beginning of films showing smoking.

From July 1, 2018, all kinds of tobacco sponsorship and promotion will be prohibited, including display of tobacco products at points-of-sale outside (and inside from 2021).

The medical warning campaign about tobacco consumption risks will be increased from 30% to 65%.

The author of the package of amendments to the Tobacco Control Law is Guguli Maghradze, a member of the ruling party Georgian Dream.

Maghradze’s initiative initially planned to ban smoking in public places from September 1, 2017. In fact, the previous bill envisioned the prohibition of smoking in all buildings except houses and prisons.

At present, around 1.5 million Georgians are active smokers, and 15 percent are underage. Today, smoking is prohibited only in hospitals and schools, but still 35% of the population are smokers, including women and children. The MPs hope that after the law enters into force, the number of smokers in the country will decrease.

Thea Morrison

18 May 2017 18:23