May 31 - World No Tobacco Day

In 1987 the World Health Organization's World Assembly declared May 31 as World No Tobacco Day. On this day public awareness-raising campaign is held about the adverse effects of tobacco and the world's attention is drawn to the tobacco epidemic and its grave consequences.

On 16 December 2005 Georgia signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and undertook an obligation to introduce relevant international standards and effective measures of tobacco control in the country. The Public Defender actively observes the Government’s policy in the field of tobacco control. The Public Defender's report on “Situation of human rights and freedoms in Georgia in 2015” emphasized the problems in the field of tobacco control. In particular, the Public Defender considers that the process of improving the existing legislation on tobacco control is delayed. In addition, the local legislation on tobacco control does not comply with international standards; there is a serious gap between the legislation and practice. Smoking is still not fully banned in all closed public places and public transport, which is a significant problem and threat to citizens' health and lives.

Based on the latest survey, the Public Defender considers that fulfillment of obligations under local and international laws by the executive authorities is not systematical, but fragmentary. While the World Health Organization selected “To get ready for plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products” as the theme of 2016 and when active campaign is underway in Europe for plain packaging of tobacco products, the tobacco companies in Georgia don’t have any obligation to put icons on tobacco product packaging.

It should be emphasized that on 4 May 2016 the European Union's Court of Justice declared the standards for tobacco product packaging, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe in 2014, as legal. According to the standards, a medical warning and icons should cover 65% of the outer packaging of tobacco products, while according to the Georgian legislation, medical warnings cover only 30% of outer packaging, which meets only minimum standards of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The Public Defender continues to work in this direction and in the near future he will present a more detailed report on the situation of tobacco control in the country to the public and the Government.

The Public Defender believes that the primary objective is to improve the Tobacco Control Strategy and Action Plan through co-operation between all relevant agencies and non-governmental sector, as well as to plan future measures, in order to protect the population and especially the youth from harmful effects of tobacco.

The Public Defender of Georgia once again calls on the Government to effectively supervise the existing regulations, along with eliminating gaps in the legislation on tobacco control.

Woking Hours: Monday–Friday 9:00–18:00
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