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Merab Janiashvili: Existing Edition of Tobacco Control Bill is Unacceptable

Merab Janiashvili: Existing Edition of Tobacco Control Bill is Unacceptable

Smoking Harms Health –  this is not a new phrase and the practical life has proved no restrictions and prohibitions can bring real results.

The parliament launched discussions of a new bill on tobacco control restriction in spring session. The bill was submitted to the Parliament by MP Guguli Maghradze, member of the parliament’s majority faction.

Apparently, even the bill author does not expect effective results from adoption of the mentioned bill. MP Guguli Maghradze says that the bill adoption will reduce the smoking level by only 1%.

MP Guguli Maghradze told the Resonance newspaper that similar laws do not bring results immediately. “Similar restrictions have reduced the smoking level by only 1%, but similar bill protects the rights of passive smokers and nonsmokers”, the bill author told the newspaper.

We remind you that the parliament has postponed discussions for making amendments to the law on tobacco control for autumn. The bill calls for introducing a number of changes, including full prohibition of smoking in public places, full restriction of outdoor advertising, prohibition of sales of tobacco or tobacco products or its accessories in the form, when they are transmitted to  passengers in vehicles immediately from the facilities.

Moreover, tobacco sales should not be visible and closed boxes should be used at commercial facilities, including in booths, stores and supermarkets.

The bill also calls for prohibition of all forms of advertising tobacco products, its accessories and smoking devices, Moreover the space of health warning on tobacco product packs will increase to 65% from 30%.

It is difficult to say whether this bill will bring real results, but a certain part of experts and parliament members asserts that many issues may become problematic in relation to the bill, including obligatory licensing of sellers of tobacco and tobacco products, obligation for limitation of visibility and so on. Certain risks will also arise to prevent illegal sales of tobacco products.

Apparently, not all appropriate instances have approved the bill. MP Guguli Maghradze has recognized that parliamentary committees that have discussed the bill submitted many remarks. Government members have also outlined remarks, she noted.

“The law on tobacco control was proposed by us and the bill has already passed committees. Now it is ready to be discussed by the leading committee. Naturally many committees have expressed remarks, even the Government members have expressed their remarks and we are working on all these issues”, MP Maghradze noted.

Merab Janiashvili, vice president of the Association of Young Financiers and Businessmen (AYFB) explains that the bill should not be adopted in this form.

“Adoption of the existing edition of the bill will bring no benefits to either smokers or the state economy. The international practice suggests that education campaigns carried out by the Government bring most effective results, while restrictions are useless.

These amendments will inflict major damage to small enterprisers, who will have to create various infrastructure and take licenses because of new regulations. For example, additional costs are required to arrange special smoking zones at cafes and restaurants. If the businessmen have to take higher costs, they will increase the product price. This signifies these regulations will force our population to purchase higher-value products. Therefore, all regulations should be introduced stage by stage in the course of time. I hope the Parliament will not adopt this bill in the existing form”, Merab Janiashvili said.