Turkey Extends Smoking Ban To Include Bars And Restaurants
Turkey has extended its smoking ban to include bars and restaurants. Originally, the smoking ban issued in May of 2008 encompassed offices, public transport, malls, schools, and hospitals. However, bars, cafes and restaurants were exempt until summer of 2009. Starting July 19, 2009, smoking will be banned in all closed public spaces.
Turkey’s health minister Recep Akdag said that the May 2008 ban brought down smoking by seven per cent, and he hopes that the extension of the prohibition will mean that fewer people will smoke.
The extension of the ban has prompted rage from bar and restaurant owners who say they are already struggling with slumping sales in economic crisis.
On July 15, tea and coffeehouse owners gathered in the centre of the Aegean port city of Izmir, western Turkey, to smoke water pipes in protest at the forthcoming ban.
Turkey is also setting up a 4,500-person force to carry out surprise checks on bars, restaurants and coffeehouses and help enforce the ban.
Radikal newspaperThe country woke up this morning having carried out a cigarette revolution.
Traditionally, Turkey has been a smoking nation. Around 40% of adults smoke in Turkey, consuming 17 million packs a day.
Nine-tenths of Turks support the smoking ban, according to a survey of 600 people by Istanbul-based Quirk Global Strategies published this month.
The government says more than 100,000 people die annually in Turkey from smoking-related illnesses.
Perhaps, the recently imposed 'all-inclusive' smoking ban is the consequence of Turkey's aspirations to join the European Union. Some EU nations, like Italy, Ireland and the UK, have banned smoking in public spaces. Turkey has been trying to accede to the EU since 1987. However, human rights issues and Turkey's conflicts with its neighbors have been the impediments preventing Turkey's entry into the EU.