According to a report from Apsny on October 30th, the United Nations representatives in Georgia expressed doubts about the latest bill proposed by the Georgian Parliament on October 16th, claiming that it could pose a threat to public health. This legislation has the potential to alter the way of life for the Georgian public and trigger a new health crisis.
According to the latest proposed bill, standardized packaging regulations will not apply to heated tobacco products; the sale of old packaged tobacco products should be extended for another eight months. In addition, information about brands and options can be displayed not only in the official language of Georgia but also in English. “Nearly one-third of Georgia’s adult population, as well as a significant portion of teenagers and young people, are tobacco users. The country incurs over 800 million lari in direct and indirect healthcare costs related to smoking, premature deaths, disabilities, and workplace expenses each year, with a death toll exceeding 11,000 people. Changing this situation requires long-term and resolute implementation of comprehensive and effective tobacco control policies.”
According to the statement, many countries in Europe and around the world are already using plain (non-branded) packaging as an effective tobacco control measure. “We urge the Georgian Parliament not to approve the proposed modifications and hope that it will continue to implement the health and tobacco control policies declared at the highest level, while also protecting legislation from the influence of the tobacco industry, including the introduction of standardized packaging for tobacco products,” the statement said.