Smoking tobacco is a big part of Georgian culture and is prevalent throughout the country. Georgia has among the highest levels of tobacco use in the world at about 2200 cigarettes per capita vs a world average of 1600.
Despite the fact that more Georgians are living longer, they are generally in poor health, and there are an estimated 11,000 smoking deaths per year. However, in recent years Georgia has clamped down considerably on smoking laws.
How Much Does a Pack of Cigarettes Cost?
A pack of 20 Camels is about 4.5 GEL ($1.46). And the cost of a pack of Marlboro is about 5.8 GEL ($1.88).
This might not seem too expensive compared to western prices, but the cost includes a 30% excise tax. This is considerably higher than neighboring Russia so there’s a lot of contraband in Georgia.
Where Can You Smoke in Georgia?
As of 2018, Georgia banned all smoking (including e-cigarettes) in public spaces such as:
- Cafés, bars, restaurants
- Any place that is intended for people under the age of 18
- Beauty salons
- Private offices
- All public transport including buses, taxis, airplanes, ships, and metro
- Enclosed sports facilities
- Gas stations and surrounding area
You are still allowed to smoke in casinos, cigar bars, and private residences. Some stadiums will also have designated smoking areas.
Also, many bars and clubs will have a designated smoking room or smoking area.
Penalties for Smoking in Banned Areas
Anyone who violates this ban on smoking in public spaces will be fined 500 GEL ($162.07). It will be doubled for repeat offenders. If you smoke in public transport, at the entrance of a building, or on the roof, the fine is 50 GEL ($16.21). Doubled for repeat offenders.
These laws are well-enforced in big cities like Tbilisi. But not so much in smaller towns.
Is Marijuana Legal in Georgia?
Yes, weed was recently legalized in Georgia. Read more here.
Laws on Advertising Tobacco
Along with the ban on smoking in public spaces, Georgia passed strict laws regarding the advertising of tobacco. It’s prohibited to advertise on any form of mass media such as print, television, or public theater. The only exception is if it’s part of creative intention.
Shops are not allowed to post photos of cigarettes in their windows or displays. And you cannot do any giveaways or drawings for tobacco products.