New anti-smoking measures in pipeline – deputy PM

Turkey is to introduce a new round of measure to combat smoking, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ said in an interview with Milliyet newspaper published on Monday.

Calling cigarettes “the product of imperialist elements from international cartels who see nothing other than money”, Akdağ said there would be better enforcement of existing anti-smoking regulations, updated warning messages on cigarette packages, plain packaging of cigarettes, and a ban on cigarettes being put on display where they are sold.

There were also measures in the pipeline, he said, to reduce the use of rolling tobacco, which now make up 20 percent of the market.

Turkey had a state monopoly on tobacco production and distribution from 1925 until the ruling AK Party liberalised the market and sold the state distribution company to British American Tobacco in 2008.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is well known for his dislike of smoking, a habit indulged in by 24 percent of the Turkish adult population, and regularly puts pressure on smokers he meets to kick the habit.