Erdoğan says e-cigarettes are ‘bizarre’ and addictive

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, known for his fierce opposition to smoking, turned his attention to e-cigarettes, labelling the products as “bizarre” and addictive.

Erdoğan was speaking at a symposium on international drugs and health in Istanbul on Tuesday.

“They have invented something bizarre called the ‘electronic cigarette’, Erdoğan said, according to local media reports. “They claim it does not contain any nicotine or very little. But soon people will become addicted.”

The Turkish president also suggested tobacco companies were hiding their intentions when offering to put money in Turkey.

“They are saying they will invest $500 million or $1 billion,” he said. “We are asking if they are going to export what they produce here. Would you do that, we ask them. But they demand that at least 10 percent of their products are consumed domestically. Then their true intentions become clear.”

Erdoğan also raised concern about addiction to mobile phones, saying even two-year-old children were becoming hooked on screens. He characterised mobile phone sales in Turkey, which he said totalled 70 million in a country of 81 million, as alarming.