Cigarette sales to be banned in Turkish universities

Cigarette sales to be banned in Turkish universities

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Cigarette sales to be banned in Turkish universities

AA photo

New smoking regulations are on the way in Turkey, with Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu saying the ministry plans to prohibit all cigarette sales on university campuses and further reducing the number of outdoor public spaces that smokers can use. 

“We are banning the sale of cigarettes on university campuses,” Müezzinoğlu told the state-run Anadolu Agency on April 19.

“Cigarettes turn non-smokers into passive smokers. In the coming period we will ban [smoking] in parks, especially in children’s parks. In regular parks, cigarettes will be able to be smoked in only a quarter of their total space, which will be designated by municipalities. In outdoor spaces [such as restaurants], we will leave 25 to 50 percent of space as smoking areas,” said Müezzinoğlu. 

Saying that in restaurants’ outdoor spaces, non–smokers are forced to become passive smokers because of people smoking around them, Müezzinoğlu said his ministry may increase the percentage of outdoor non-smoking areas to 75 percent.  

He also said smoking would not be allowed within a certain distance from the entrances of shopping malls and hospitals, while a similar regulation would be made for mosque courtyards. 

Addressing the “black package” regulation that had been being discussed as a possible measure to dissuade smokers, Müezzinoğlu said the idea had been dropped from the agenda. 

“The World Health Organization [WHO] suggests this practice, which is carried out in Australia, but statistically we do not yet have new data to see the benefits of this. What’s more it is illegal according to international trade laws, because you are declaring the brand [of a cigarette] void. So with our assessment in the cabinet and because there is no other country that practices the “black package” regulation other than Australia, we have dropped this from our agenda,” said Müezzinoğlu. 

Turkey’s “fight against smoking” started seven or eight years ago, he said, claiming “crucial results” according to statistics. 

“When looking at the figures, tobacco-related cancer diagnoses decreased from 33,000 to 30,000 in 2014, while lung cancer cases dropped from 22,000 to 19,000,” Müezzinoğlu said.