Istanbul expands smoking ban to marketplaces

As part of its COVID-19 response measures, the Istanbul Governorate has expanded its public smoking ban to include marketplaces on Friday, following an earlier smoking ban on streets, squares and public transport stops.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya announced the ban on Twitter, saying, "Dear Istanbulites, in order to ensure the correct and continuous use of masks, smoking is prohibited in all marketplaces in Istanbul. It is indispensable for us to comply with the rules for health, for all of us."

The Provincial Health Directorate unde the governorate said the following for the first ban:

“In order to ensure that masks are worn properly at all times, as of Nov. 12, 2020, a smoking ban will be imposed in areas and regions to be determined by the Provincial Public Health Councils such as streets and avenues where citizens are or can be crowded together, and public squares and public transportation stops as necessary.

The governorate published a list of streets, avenues and squares and said violators of the ban would be fined 900 liras ($115).

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya also shared on his Twitter account, "Dear Istanbulites, let's not risk ourselves and anyone else by removing our mask."

Earlier in the week, a partial curfew for those over 65 was announced in major cities, requiring the elderly to stay at home between 16:00 and 10:00. Most businesses are also required to close at 22:00.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has a long history of opposing smoking, believing it to be haram, or against Islamic principles. In 2019 he told an anti-smoking conference that he had not allowed e-cigarette firms to produce products in Turkey, telling citizens to “enjoy a cup of Rize tea instead.”

Erdoğan is known for taking cigarette boxes from his random people if he sees them during walking, before making them promise that they won't smoke anymore.

During a speech at a party congress on Friday, Erdoğan urged citizens to “get rid of the dry and the wet,” referring to tobacco and alcohol, as “COVID-19 loves targeting the lungs.”