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Tobacco Industry New Regulations will not Come into Force on January 1, 2017

Tobacco Industry New Regulations will not Come into Force on January 1, 2017

Information as if the tobacco industry new regulations will come into force on January 1, 2017 is a fraud.

At this stage, the bill on new regulations exists and it was submitted to the Parliament by MP Guguli Maghradze, but discussions were suspended for autumn 2016.

The Parliament has not showed clear position around the bill, because MPs believe that similar bills should not be adopted in a hurry.

The Republican Party member David Berdzenishvili said that the Parliament should not adopt the bill on tobacco control in a hurry.

MP David Berdzenishvili noted that he has not seen a conclusion proving the new regulations will reduce tobacco prices and new restrictions will decrease the quantity of smokers.

Because of the bill restrictions, smokers will give preference to worse quality tobacco, MP David Berdzenishvili noted.

We should treat this issue with responsibility. I urge the bureau members to explore this issue. Electronic cigarettes have been imported here. I have not seen conclusions proving they must be banned. Nor I have conclusions on restriction of cigarette production, growth in prices and so on, whether new regulations are effective for reduction in quantity of smokers. I, as a former smoker, express my sympathy to smokers. I have not seen qualified conclusions and I am not sure we should adopt these changes in a hurry”, Berdzenishvili said amid discussions.

The bill has also supporters in the Parliament, for example MP Temur Nergadze asserts that the Government should spend considerable funds for adverse publicity against tobacco. In the USA the number of smokers has decreased thanks to a large-scale campaign, he said.

“In the USA the Authorities organized large-scale campaign named as Who Smokes is the Retarded. They have spent billions of USD and today you are considered as the Retarded if you smoke. If you do not want to be the Retarded, you will give up smoking. The Authorities should spend more money and we should adopt stricter laws”, Temur Nergadze said.

Experts assert that the legislators should take into account many factors before adoption of similar amendments. They recognize that restrictions are useless and the quantity of smokers will not decrease. It is important to carry out education campaign, while adoption of the bill may incentivize  undercounter sales of tobacco.

We remind you that the bill submitted by Guguli Maghradze calls for banning advertising tobacco products and its accessories.

The bill also calls for expanding the space for medical warnings on the pack to 65% from 30%.