Expert Emzar Jgerenaia says that introduction of new regulations and tightening old ones in the tobacco industry is a misunderstanding and populism. It is not correct to oblige any company to remunerate healthcare expenditures for diseased citizens, he said.
At this stage it will be an enough measure to ban tobacco products at public places and closed buildings, however, even these measures may bring certain problems in case of bars, the expert told the CBW.
“I, as a nonsmoker, think that prohibition of smoking at public places and closed buildings will reduce the smoking statistics in the country, but I do not back the idea that the companies should remunerate healthcare expenditures to diseased citizens. A lot of appeals and trials will be accumulated. This is unimaginable, as well as sales of cigarettes from under the counter”, Emzar Jgerenaia noted.
As to growth of the size of healthcare warning indications, in Australia, New Zealand and England this idea was supported by the society, but I do not believe this way will bring real effect, he added.
“We should not apply excessive measures. At this stage, I believe, it is enough to ban smoking at public places and closed buildings. This is an absolutely acceptable initiative and this is sufficient at this stage”, Jgerenaia noted.
Introduction of similar regulations in the tobacco industry will also affect the Georgian state budget, he added.
“On the other hand, revenues from taxation of tobacco imports are very important for the state budget. Therefore, if these absurd regulations are adopted, the budget will lose about 60 millions.
As to expansion the size of healthcare warnings, this measure cannot promote smoking level reduction in the country. Real effects will be brought by prohibition of smoking at public places and restaurants and cafes.
However, I have one question: at hard rock bars that are associated with a smoking and alcohol drinks somebody wants to drink alcoholic beverages and to smoke. If we ban them to smoke, we will receive uncertain situation. In this case they either will not go to bars or will not smoke a cigarette.
I think we are too hasty. We seem to be earning scores, but I cannot guess before whom. Everything needs time and paces», expert Emzar Jgerenaia noted.