Turkey to ban e-cigarettes, says health minister

Turkey is preparing to ban the use of e-cigarettes and stop them from entering the country, Health Minister Faruk Koca said.

Koca said that ministry was currently working on the legal regulation for the ban and it would soon be brought to parliament, independent news site Diken reported on Tuesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is a fierce opponent of smoking, has labelled e-cigarettes as products as “bizarre” and addictive. In September, he said the ministry and customs officials were working to ban the entrance of e-cigarettes into the country.

Speaking on the new initiatives by the ministry on smoking in enclosed spaces, Koca said that the current regulation, which grants smokers some allotted areas in confined places where they can smoke, was being violated.

“There are certain areas that are half-open and half-enclosed spaces, which are being abused, we are going to more strictly define what constitutes open space,” Koca said.

The health ministry has long waged anti-smoking campaigns in Turkey, where 14.5 million adults and 252,000 children use tobacco every day, according to Tobacco Atlas, a leading source on tobacco data.

Turkey saw its highest rates of cigarette consumption to date in 2018, with a study revealing 1,400 cigarettes were consumed for every person in the country, state-run Anadolu news agency reported in April.