Increased tobacco ban impending in Turkey
REUTERS PhotoMore than 22,000 retailers risk losing their license to sell cigarettes as the government’s new plan over tobacco use are impending.
The new draft by the government states that there will be no cigarette retailers within 100 meters of schools. However, according to the cigarette industry, the ruling would affect some one-sixth of the 150,000 tobacco retailers, with the industry claiming that “there might be towns in Turkey without a cigarette retailer if the draft is accepted.”
The cigarette industry also claim that the new ruling might boost counterfeit market, which would cost the state millions in tax losses, the daily Hürriyet reported.
However, the Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu has said the government will continue its efforts against tobacco use, including requirement for cigarettes to be sold in black packages. “Currently, Turkey’s tobacco watchdog is preparing the regulations,” Müezzinoğlu said.
“We need to give the perception that smoking is not fascinating, but wrong,” Müezzinoğlu told Anadolu Agency. “In the new packages, the visuals will not be fascinating, they will reflect the ugliness, the negativity [of smoking]. For the smoker, the package might not be important but sometimes, the pack is put on the table [where it can be seen]. Then he will not be ‘cooler’ for doing it. On the contrary, there will be a negativity associated with smoking.”
In 1997, smoking was banned in public buildings, airplanes and public buses, which followed in 2008 with a ban in all indoor spaces, including bars, cafés and restaurants. Recently, the government paced its efforts to extend the ban to outdoor spaces, such as areas outside bars and restaurants and in front of shopping malls, with Müezzinoğlu stating that that the regulation would soon include parks in order to protect “children and families.”
“We won’t allow someone to promote cigarettes in places where people are going for health and peace,” he said, adding that “there will be a special corner for smokers and they will not be allowed to smoke outside those designated areas.”
The Minister said that the regulation was prepared and could go into effect after receiving approval from the Prime Ministry. “I expect it to be out in September or October, but also 2015 at the latest,” he added.