World No Tobacco Day

Every year since 1987, May 31 has been marked as the World No Tobacco Day, the aim of which is to draw the world's attention to the tobacco epidemic and the severe consequences caused by it.

The Public Defender of Georgia welcomes the tightening of tobacco control legislation in the country in 2017-2019, which should be considered an effective step to prevent one of the important threats to the health of the population. However, in this regard, the amendments to the Tax Code passed by the Parliament in three readings on May 29, 2024, by which the excise rate for 1 kilogram of tobacco was reduced from 60 to 30 GEL,[1] should be negatively evaluated. This change is against the principles defined by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and Article 6 of the Convention, according to which, the contracting parties recognize that tariff and tax measures are an effective and important means of reducing tobacco consumption among different segments of the population, especially among young people.

A few years ago, the Public Defender of Georgia pointed out the dangers of easy access to tobacco products for minors in the Special Report on the Situation of Tobacco Control. Therefore, it is regrettable to adopt the kind of changes in the legislation, which contradict the goal of reducing access to tobacco products for the protection of the health of citizens, which is recognized by legislation.

The Public Defender of Georgia emphasizes the importance of continued effective monitoring of tobacco legislation by the authorized bodies, including effective protection of minors from the harmful effects of tobacco and the control of electronic cigarette and heated tobacco use in closed spaces, and also expresses hope that the Parliament of Georgia will not support the kind of changes in the future, which will contribute to increasing access to tobacco products.

[1] Goods defined by code No 2403 19 of the Foreign Economic Activity Commodity Nomenclature.

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