Na­tion to fight against to­bacco use with new amend­ments

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

line with the coun­try’s ef­forts to tighten to­bacco pro­mo­tion, a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee ap­proved amend­ments to im­pose a ban on the use and pro­mo­tion of to­bacco prod­ucts in films and mu­sic videos as well as on TV, so­cial me­dia and other in­ter­net venues.

A PAR­LIA­MEN­TARY com­mit­tee ap­proved amend­ments to health laws that pro­vides ma­jor mo­men­tum for Turkey’s fight for to­bacco con­trol.

Amend­ments, one of the most com­pre­hen­sive reg­u­la­tions af­ter a land­mark smok­ing ban in 2009, im­pose a ban on use or pro­mo­tion of to­bacco prod­ucts on TV, TV series, films, mu­sic videos, films screened in cin­e­mas and theater plays as well as on so­cial me­dia and other in­ter­net venues. The sale of to­bacco prod­ucts in fa­cil­i­ties where health and ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices are of­fered, such as uni­ver­si­ties, will also be banned.

An­other rev­o­lu­tion­ary amend­ment is plain pack­ag­ing. In­stead of col­or­ful packs deemed to en­cour­age smok­ing by crit­ics, cig­a­rettes will come in packs with an­ti­smok­ing mes­sages and mes­sages in­di­cat­ing what smok­ing does to hu­man health will cover 85 per­cent of the pack. All packs will be of stan­dard size and will not have the logo of the com­pany or type of cig­a­rettes. Only a small space will be al­lo­cated on packs for place­ment of the brand. Vi­o­lat­ing the rules will be pun­ish­able with fines.

Smok­ing has been one of the habits most as­so­ci­ated with Turks for decades and even cre­ated the ex­pres­sion: “To smoke like a Turk.” In 2009, Turkey banned smok­ing in all in­door spa­ces, in­clud­ing restau­rants, bars, cafes and sim­i­lar es­tab­lish­ments, and one year later the ban was ex­tended to smok­ing in var­i­ous sites such as sta­di­ums, mosque court­yards and hospi­tals. Then­prime min­is­ter and in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan, a staunch tee­to­taler, is largely cred­ited for the ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ban that sig­nif­i­cantly lim­ited space for smok­ers. Apart from the ban, the coun­try im­posed higher taxes on cig­a­rettes and pro­vided free medicine and treat­ment for smok­ers.

Fig­ures in­di­cate that af­ter the smok­ing ban in restau­rants, bars, cafes, sta­di­ums, hospi­tals and sim­i­lar es­tab­lish­ments, the preva­lence of smok­ers de­creased. In­creased taxes on cig­a­rettes and free med­i­cal treat­ment for smok­ers aided a de­cline in the habit. Still, au­thor­i­ties are de­ter­mined to stamp out smok­ing, which still pre­vails among the young and kills more than 100,000 peo­ple ev­ery year due to dis­eases linked to smok­ing. The smok­ing rate was 31.6 per­cent in 2016, the lat­est year with avail­able data, a de­cline from 32.5 per­cent in 2014.

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