Turkey leads the way in implementing anti-tobacco measures - WHO report

Turkey is the first country in the world that has passed all anti-tobacco measures suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the highest level, according to a report by the body.

Turkey has reached the highest level of achievement in terms of implementing WHO measures, including protecting people from tobacco smoke, offering help to quit tobacco use, warning about the dangers of tobacco, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising and raising taxes on tobacco, the report said.

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.

Ali Erbaş, head of the state Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, said in Feb. the preference would be for non-smokers to carry out duties during the annual haj and umrah pilgrimages. Erbaş added in the future it was possible that smokers would not even be allowed to sit exams to become imams in the first place.