A ban displaying cigarettes in shop windows or on shelves will soon come into effect as part of wider efforts to discourage smoking in Turkey, the country’s health minister has said.
“Cigarettes will not be sold [openly on] shelves,” daily Hürriyet quoted Minister Recep Akdağ as saying last week.
The new measures, which come a year after a banning of indoor smoking in public spaces throughout the country, means cigarette packs will be kept out of sight at shops, supermarkets and cafes instead of on shelves or in windows.
The new ban is part of a new draft regulation on selling cigarettes in the open that is being prepared by the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Agency, or TAPDK, according to Akdağ. It is not clear when the new measures will come into effect but once they do, customers will have to ask proprietors for cigarettes.
New monitoring authority for smoking ban law application
The minister also said the authority to collect fines from smoking-ban violations would be transferred from municipalities to governors, district governors and other local authorities.
“We are experiencing problems with the inefficient work of municipalities in applying the smoking ban in enclosed public places,” the minister said, adding that after consulting with the Interior Ministry, they had started work on changes to existing legislation to shift the authority.
Despite the problems, Akdağ said the program so far had been a success.
“We have had great results with the smoking ban and our campaign,” the minister said, adding that the smoking ban law was being applied in the majority of cases and that the rates of young people who smoke had fallen recently.
“We also launched the ‘Alo 171’ [which provides assistance for those who wish to quit smoking], and will not give up,” Akdağ said.
There will also be new regulations regarding stop-smoking pills, Akdağ said.
“The Health Ministry will buy [these pills] and try them on a group of 300,000 volunteer patients. Then we will see how effective the pills are,” the minister said, adding that once approved by the ministry, such pills would be sold with a doctor’s prescription at pharmacies.
Details of the ban
The legislation that took effect July 19, 2009, outlawed smoking in all enclosed public places, including bars, cafes, restaurants and places where nargile is smoked, as well as taxis, trains and outdoor stadiums. Businesses are additionally required to make arrangements that protect nonsmokers from fumes if smoking is allowed in open-air parts of their premises.
The ban, however, excludes private residences.
Any area with a mobile or fixed ceiling or roof – including tents and sunshades – that has doors, windows and permanent or temporary walls, except for entrances, as well as areas that have ceilings or roofs and more than half of the sides sealed, are deemed “enclosed areas” under the law.
The consumption of tobacco products is prohibited in all railway, highway, sea and air-transportation vehicles, including taxis, and in places where any sporting, cultural, educational or recreational activity takes place in the open air. The ban covers both private and public schools and the places where private institutions give private courses, such as dersanes.
Special sections that are not to exceed 10 percent of the overall space, and must be isolated from other enclosed areas, have been set aside for smokers in nursing homes, mental hospitals and prisons. Similar-sized areas can also be created on the decks of sea-transport vehicles for smokers on intercity and international routes. People under the age of 18, however, will not be allowed to enter these sections.
Under the new law, hotels must set up rooms with ventilation systems that meet established standards for guests who smoke. These rooms must be on the same floor or corridor as each other.
Individuals who do not obey the ban are fined 69 Turkish Liras, while those who let people smoke in enclosed areas are fined between 560 and 5,600 liras.