Healthy Initiatives Presents Research on Georgia's Illicit Cigarette Market at Prestigious European Conference

September 2023
Healthy Initiatives' economist Giorgi Mzhavanadze recently presented groundbreaking research at the 2023 European Conference of the Society of Benefit-Cost Analysis. This prestigious conference, chaired by the distinguished Professor Donald Kenkel from Cornell University, provided an invaluable platform for experts and researchers to delve into critical issues surrounding tobacco consumption, public health, and policy.

Giorgi Mzhavanadze's presentation, titled "The Illicit Cigarette Market in Georgia: Potential Impacts on Smoking Prevalence and Tax Revenues," not only captivated the audience but also ignited engaging discussions among attending scholars and policymakers. Here are some key insights from the presentation:

1. Impact of Taxation Measures: Giorgi Mzhavanadze meticulously examined the effectiveness of taxation measures implemented between 2017 and 2019. His findings revealed that while these measures did not significantly affect the illicit market, they did lead to a noteworthy shift in consumer behavior, with many turning to roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes.

2. Price Gap: The presentation delved into how the price gap between legal and illicit cigarettes, coupled with the taxation structure, influenced consumer choices. Giorgi highlighted the fact that numerous smokers opted for cheaper legal alternatives, such as RYO cigarettes.

3. Policy Implications: Giorgi concluded by underlining the urgent need for further increases in excise tax rates on loose tobacco. These measures are vital for strengthening tobacco control efforts and ultimately reducing smoking rates.

The presentation sparked a myriad of questions from the audience, particularly regarding the factors contributing to the rapid decline of the illicit cigarette market in the early 2000s, the extent of underreporting in Georgian household surveys, and its potential impact on the analysis.

Giorgi Mzhavanadze's research makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the illicit cigarette market and its far-reaching implications for public health and government revenue in Georgia. We take immense pride in having Giorgi represent Healthy Initiatives at this esteemed conference.

For in-depth details about the conference and Giorgi's presentation, please visit the 2023 European Conference of the Society of Benefit-Cost Analysis website. You can also access the published paper for further reference.

Stay tuned for more updates on our ongoing research and initiatives as we continue to work towards fostering a healthier and more informed society.

#PublicHealth #TobaccoControl #TobaccoTaxation #IllicitMarket #SmokingPrevalence #TaxRevenues #Research #ImpactAnalysis #NGOHealthyInitiatives
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