Turkish gov’t mulls standardizing cigarette packaging to discourage smoking
ANTALYA - Doğan News Agency
The government is considering measures to replace the current cigarette packages with “uniform” packaging to discourage smoking, Health Minister Ahmet Demircan said on Feb. 9.
Demircan did not elaborate but said that details of the planned measures would be unveiled in coming days.
“Cigarette packages should not be easily accessible and they should not make smoking appealing. Packages should not serve as advertisement materials. We have to take necessary measures to prevent this,” the minister said, adding that they were keeping a close eye on the previously introduced measures aimed at curbing smoking to see if they were implemented.
More than 26 million people have called the “172 helpline to quit smoking” that was launched by the Health Ministry in 2010 and some 70 percent of those people stopped smoking, according to the minister.
“The percentage of people aged 15 and above using tobacco dropped to 26.8 percent in 2012. But this rate increased to 32.5 percent in 2014,” Demircan said back in November 2017.
The latest proposed measures follow on from the ruling Justic and Development Party’s (AKP) long-standing anti-smoking crusade, which began with a smoking ban in closed public spaces back in 2009.
“You don’t have freedom to commit suicide, so you don’t have freedom to expose yourselves to terminal diseases ... There can be no such freedom as the freedom to smoke … The state must protect its citizens against tobacco, alcohol and drugs, just as it is obliged to protect them against crimes like theft and terrorism,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is known for his strong anti-smoking views, said in 2016.