May 31 Is World No Tobacco Day
May 31 is the World No Tobacco Day. The World Health Organization declared May 31 as the World No Tobacco Day in 1987. Statements are made about the harmful effects of tobacco and related risks around the world on this day.
The Public Defender of Georgia wants to emphasize once again the health threats posed by tobacco to population.
In this regard, we welcome the amendments made to the Law of Georgia on Tobacco Control in 2017, which limited the availability/consumption of tobacco products in the country and brought the legislation on tobacco control in line with the Framework Convention on Tobacco and the directives and recommendations of the EU Association Agreement.
Despite these positive changes, unfortunately, amendments were again made to the Law of Georgia on Tobacco Control in December 2018, as a result of which, tobacco smoking has been allowed in the buildings with slot machine parlors. The Public Defender of Georgia described the mentioned legislative amendments as a step backwards in the field of tobacco control and criticized it as a tendency to weaken the tobacco control legislation.
Currently, the Healthcare and Social Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Georgia is considering the draft amendments to the Law of Georgia on Tobacco Control in the second reading, which allows the production/sale of 15 grams of tobacco product, which according to the authors of the draft law, is the amount needed for the production of a pack of cigarettes. During the consideration of the draft law by the Healthcare and Social Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Georgia in the first reading, a representative of the Public Defender of Georgia expressed the negative position of the Public Defender regarding the changes. However, unfortunately, the Committee still backed the amendments.
The Public Defender believes that just like the changes made in the tobacco control legislation in December 2018, this regulation will also make access to tobacco products easier in the country and will complicate the protection of minors from the harmful effects of tobacco, which will ultimately have a negative impact on the health of population and weaken the tobacco control policy in the ecountry, the tightening of which has been supported by the Public Defender of Georgia for years.
The Public Defender also emphasizes the fact that the production/sale of 15-gram packs of tobacco products contradicts the principles of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, as well as the regulations set forth in Article 14 (1) of Directive 2014/40/EU.
The Public Defender of Georgia once again emphasizes the importance of the present day and hopes that the Parliament of Georgia will not support the above-mentioned draft amendments, or any future amendment that may make access to the tobacco products easier in the country.