Smoking ban leaves Turks luke warm

Law banning lighting up in public places reported to have had little effect.

     Politicians who passed the law have already indicated they intend to smoke within the parliament [Reuters]
    Cafes and restaurants will also benefit from a transition period, with a total ban only applying to them from July 2009, while organisers of sporting events or concerts may provide smoking areas.


    Any establishment defying the ban will receive a written warning, followed by a fine of up to $4,000.

    An individual caught illicitly smoking risks a fine of $40.

    Around 60 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women are smokers in Turkey, with tobacco-related diseases blamed for a fifth of all deaths.

    The country is also an important producer of tobacco.

    Weak enforcement

    Smoking is already banned on public transport and the advertising of tobacco prohibited.

    However, with smoking so popular, the law has seldom been rigorously enforced, even though an opinion poll published by the Sabah newspaper showed 85 per cent of people in favour of the new ban. 

    Some politicians who voted for the law have already privately indicated that they intend to smoke within the parliament building, despite the ban.

    The full extent of compliance with the new legislation will only be apparent on Tuesday when public offices reopen after Monday's public holiday.

    One medical expert said it would be extremely difficult for the country to break with old cultural habits.

    Selcuk Candansayar, a professor at Ankara's Gazi medical school, said: "Drinking a coffee and smoking a cigarette after a meal is a ritual. It's a tradition that has to be broken."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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