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Smoking Ban will Badly Hit Private Sector

Starting May 1, 2018 Tobacco Control Law will come into force. The law bans smoking, including electronic cigarettes, at various facilities. Smoking is banned at:

Any building, public transport, excluding taxi and motorboat; educational facilities, libraries, youth camps, children entertainment centers and other buildings for underage bodies and their territories; public meetings for underage bodies.

Smoking is also banned at medical and pharmaceutical facilities and their territories, fueling and gas distribution stations, buildings and territories, where inflammable substances are stored.

Smoking is also banned at cafe-bars and restaurants.

Smoking is permitted at:

Residential houses of physical bodies; specialized laboratory devices for examination of tobacco smoke; penitentiary facilities, where smoking rules are determined by the corresponding Minister; preliminary detention cell.

Smoking will be also permitted at legally-licensed cigar-bars, casinos, specially allocated smoking rooms at airport transit zones.

At inpatient psychiatric and palliative treatment facilities smoking is permitted under regulations passed by special decree of the facility director.

Smoking is admissible on the territory of a stadium till January 1, 2020. Smoking is also permitted  at no more than 20% of total number of hotel suites till January 1, 2020.

Parliament of Georgia adopted the law on tobacco control on May 17, 2017.

The law violation will result in imposing a 500 GEL on corporate bodies in the first case, 1000 GEL – in the repeated case. The fine for physical bodies is 100 GEL.

The Caucasus Business Week (CBW) has inquired whether restaurants and cafe-bars are ready for the mentioned novelty and whether this regulations is detrimental for the private sector.

Shalva Alaverdashvili, founder of Federation of Hotels and Restaurants, is interested how Government plans to control such large-scale cevents as weddings, funeral feasts and corporate evenings. Control is impossible in similar cases, he said.

«I asked the same question last year. Therefore, we have offered the Government to add more details to the alternative law, but nobody has listened to us. I welcome introduction of this law at small cafes and bars, but taking into account peculiarities of the domestic market, I supposed this regulation will not work, like all other laws. We cannot control smoking at wedding with 250 guests», Alaverdashvili noted.

Tamuna Aksanderi, founder of KHIDI club, also agrees with the position of Shalva Alaverdashvili. Control will be impossible in such facilities as night clubs with a common space, where a majority smokes within the club, she noted.

“The club visitors  smoke all the time. I have no idea how to control this process in our case. I think this is impossible. Moreover, cigarette manufacturers frequently sponsor our club to invite popular foreign DJs and therefore, the mentioned law creates double problem”, Tamuna Aksanderi said.

It will be difficult to control clients and this regulation will make negative effect on number of clients, Giorgi Gogoladze, manager for the Machakhela network of restaurants, noted.

“In general, we welcome any regulations, but in certain cases they will bring many problems. It will be difficult to explain to drunk clients with Georgian mindset  to smoke out of the building. Therefore, the law should comprise detailed interpretation. I think general regulations will decrease number of our clients and bring negative effect for our business”, Gogoladze said.