Evaluating health and economic impact of tobacco control law in Georgia
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Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Implementation and Monitoring Center, Batumi, Georgia
World Health Organization Country Office, Tbilisi, Georgia
Publication date: 2021-11-08
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2021;7(Supplement):1
Georgia has taken a historical step towards a major improvement in public health when, in May 2017, the Parliament of Georgia adopted comprehensive amendments to the National Tobacco Control Law. Most of the amendments adopted at that time entered into force on 1 May 2018.

The aim of the study is to learn the possible health and economic impacts of the tobacco control legislation after 1.5 years of enforcement of new and effective tobacco control measures.

We used logical model for data collection and analysis. The model evaluates different data sources logically. We collected data from different sources before (baseline) and after one year and half of entering into force of new tobacco control regulations. Assessment of outcome is based on the combination of secondary analysis of routine health, economic, statistical, monitoring and epidemiological data as well as research commissioned to address health and economic impact.

On average, the level of compliance was around 95% in 2018, 96% in 2019 and 95% in 2020. Highest level of compliance that Georgia has in hospitality sector (98% on average) and lowest in public buildings (91% on average).
The air pollution in public entities, where it was 531 μg/m3 on average, was exceeding the norm 15 times in 2017, and it decreased to 112 μg/m3 at the end of 2018 and became 98 μg/m3 in 2019 and 69 μg/m3 in 2020. Regarding medical facilities, air pollution was 219 μg/m3 , which is exceeds the norm 6 times, but by the end of 2018 it already dropped to 97 μg/m3 and remained near 98 μg/m3 in 2019 and 99 μg/m3 in 2020.
Number of hospitalizations for asthma and asthma status decreased by 4.3% during the period from 1 May 2018 to 30 April 2019 in comparison with the period from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018 (243 vs 254 cases). In general, data from 2018 and 2019 shows a 10% decrease in new asthma cases.
According to the data of the Ministry of Health in 2018, the number of myocardial infarction cases decreased by 32% when compared with the data of 2017. In 2019, it decreased by 6% to compare registered cases with 2018.
Turnover in food and beverage sector was 847.7 million Gel in 2017, while in 2018 it was 976.4 million. To compare turnover in the first half of 2018 to turnover in the second half of 2019, there was an increase by 81.6 million Gel. During 2018 number of employees (persons) in the sector was 23031 compared with 26002 during 2019 (11.5% increase).
Total number of restaurants and related business operators in 2017 was 3990 and at the end of 2018 it reached 4143, which is a 4% increase. The trend of growth maintained in 2019 as well – 5169 (20% increase). In 2017 the number of hotels was 1586, and increased to 1717 (by 8%) in 2018. Number of facilities increased during 2019 as well by 15.6%.
The number of employees in the hospitality sector has increased by 1746 persons during 2018, in comparison with the year 2017. We have a growing trend in 2019 as well. The turnover of the business during the first half of 2018 was 345.6 million Gel, while it increased by 124.2 million Gel (by 36%) in the second half of 2018 (when new regulations were enacted) and by 54.6 million Gel (by 16%) in the first half of 2019. An average number of visitors in the country substantially increased during 2017–2019, suggesting that smoke free policy does not had negative impact on this indicator as well.

After 1.5 years of implementation of comprehensive tobacco control measures in Georgia, there was an improvement in cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. The policy has no negative impact on economic development of the country.