Smoking up, and down

    Turkey’s tobacco-smoking prevalence fell after the imposition of a public-places tobacco-smoking ban, according to a story in The Daily Sabah.

    Increased taxes on cigarettes and free medical treatment for smokers were said also to have aided the decline in the habit.

    The smoking rate was 31.6 percent in 2016, the latest year for which data is available, down from 32.5 percent in 2014, said the story, which was based partly on statements made by the Health Minister, Fahrettin Koca.

    However, earlier this month, The Hürriyet Daily News reported that Turkey was due to launch a new anti-smoking campaign in the coming months following an increase in the incidence of smoking.

    Koca reportedly said in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News 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.

    Meanwhile, Koca was reported in the Daily Sabah piece as saying that 900,000 people had applied for free medicine provided by his ministry in the past nine years to help them quit smoking.

    And last month, Turkey announced that the nicotine-replacement medicines, Bupropion HCI and Varenicline, would be made available to smokers free of charge.

    The story said the authorities were 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’.