Georgia takes a historic step in tobacco control

WHO

Left to right: Marijan Ivanusa, Head of WHO Country Office in Georgia; Akaki Zoidze, Head of the Health Committee, Parliament of Georgia; Levan Koberidze, Deputy Head of the Health Committee, Parliament of Georgia; Kristina Mauer-Stender, Programme Manager, WHO Regional Office for Europe; Andrew Black, Team Leader, WHO FCTC Convention Secretariat.

In early May, the Georgian Parliament voted for strong new legislation on tobacco control with an overwhelming majority of 76 to 2. The third reading will take place later in May, but is only a formality. The adoption of the new law is a result of the work over several years of national and international partners, including the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

As adopted and with its full implementation, this law will be one of the strongest tobacco control laws in the WHO European Region and beyond. The legislation may be considered a “next generation tobacco control law”, as in addition to all the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) time-bound measures, it also contains plain packaging rules. The first parts of the law, including the plain packaging of all tobacco products, will enter into force in January 2018.

This law is a historic step forward in Georgia, where 11 000 deaths annually are due to tobacco use and 57% of adult men smoke, with an increasing trend for smoking among women and youth.