Turkish Health Ministry develops app to report violations in smoke-free areas
ANKARATurkey’s Health Ministry has developed a mobile application that will permit app users to report violations in non-smoking areas.
Health Minister Recep Akdağ presented the app, the “Green Detector” (Yeşil Detektör), on Jan. 27. The app was developed in coordination with Turkey’s Green Crescent (Yeşilay) and will give authorities the exact location where violations are taking place. The ministry plans to take immediate action when it receives a notification.
Akdağ said the sensitivity of citizens regarding the issue was “very significant,” noting that they wanted to make good use of the technology in their fight against smoking.
“Now when people smoke in an enclosed place, you have to dial 184 and report the issue. The authorities then notify the nearest auditor to go to the reported place. Despite this, the system isn’t working the way we want. But when you launch the ‘Green Detector’ app, a notification appears in our system which also provides the location the report was sent from. We can then directly go there. The sensitivity of our citizens is very significant. Our citizens should not stay silent. They should report it,” he said. Smoking in enclosed areas is prohibited all over Turkey.
Akdağ said cigarette packages will change and have warnings covering the whole package.
“The new packages will be covered in warnings and the brand will have minimal space. This practice started in Australia and has showed successful results,” he said, adding that cigarettes would be sold from closets, far from vision.
“We’ve prepared a bill that proposes cigarettes should not be sold in visible places. Generally the grocery stores put the products they want to sell to places close to the door and the cash point. We are introducing a new article in order for it to be dissuasive,” he said.
Noting that cigarette usage had been increasing in recent years, Akdağ said smoking levels had risen above 30 percent.
“There has been a relaxation in the ban on smoking in closed places. We need to take new precautions. We need to raise awareness in the society. We are preparing a serious media campaign for that,” he also said.
During his interview, Akdağ said the ministry had prepared a campaign with Yeşilay and that would be conducted within the following three months.