Parliament approves restrictions on smoking
By Messenger Staff
Friday, May 19The Parliament of Georgia has approved a number of proposed restrictions on smoking and the placement of tobacco commercials with 85 votes for and one against in the 150-member legislative body.
The restrictions - which include a ban on smoking in all areas except private homes, psychiatric clinics, penitentiary facilities and casinos - will come into play from May 1 next year.
Smoking will also be allowed in cigar bars. However, no food must be sold there, and a special license will be mandatory to open such a bar.
No commercials will be aired that will encourage people to smoke, and it will be necessary for all tobacco importers to put a special inscription about the harmful effects of cigarettes on the boxes.
It would have been better if the changes had come into effect earlier than next year.
As it appears, the government and Parliament thought about businesses and gave them a certain time to prepare for the changes.
The government also increased taxes on tobacco, which have made the product more expensive.
The government said the step would decrease the number of smokers in the country, wherein the greater part of the population is poor.
However, experts say that smokers will now move on to smoke cheaper cigarettes that will affect their health in even worse ways.
In previous years, the government also vowed that there would be strict controls over smoking in public areas.
However, these turned out to be empty words.
The adoption of good laws is important, but more important is their enforcement.
Several weeks ago, the government also introduced high fines for dropping litter.
However, only a dozen people were tasked with ensuring the law's enforcement, and this will never be enough for real changes.
If the relevant bodies will not ensure the enforcement of the smoking restrictions, these law swill also be ineffective.