Smoking up in Turkey

    Turkey is due to launch a new anti-smoking campaign in the coming months following an increase in the incidence of smoking, according to a story in The Hürriyet Daily News.

    The Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reportedly said in an interview that the incidence of smoking had increased from 27 percent to 32 percent in recent years, despite a ban on smoking in public places.

    The incidence of smoking among men had increased to 44 percent, while that among women had risen to 19 percent.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had endorsed Turkey’s long-term anti-tobacco campaign, but the smoking industry had been finding new ways to increase consumption, the minister was reported to have said.

    “They pushed for water pipes after inspections against smoking in cafes or restaurants intensified,” Koca said. “They campaign that electronic cigarettes are harmless, although the situation is the other way around. They promote slim cigarettes for women’s consumption.”

    He accused the tobacco industry of trying to encourage young people to become long-term users and women smokers to become role models.

    “They are introducing smoking as part of a modern life and culture,” he said. “That’s why we should also fight these efforts of the tobacco industry.”

    The News said that the new campaign, which will be unveiled in a couple of months, will display smokers as ‘second-class people’ in the eyes of the public – presumably in the eyes of the non-smoking public.

    It will bring in changes also to smoking-in-public-places regulations.

    And it will herald intensified enforcement of those regulations.