Turkey - with expansion of smoking ban cigarette sales drop..

September 7. 2009 - The July 19 expansion of the smoking ban to include restaurants, cafes, teahouses and bars has resulted in a significant drop in cigarette sales, which were 5.4 percent lower in July 2009 than a year ago.

According to data from the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Agency, or TAPDK, the July decrease in sales amounts to 89,478,000 fewer packages of cigarettes sold.

Professor Elif Dağlı, the chair of the National Committee on Cigarettes and Health, or SSUK, said the implementation of similar laws in other countries has been shown to reduce consumption by 8 to 10 percent in the first six months. In the United States, she said, long-term decreases in sales have climbed to 27 percent.

“A 5.4 percent decrease in the first stage is much lower than our target but inspires hope for the future,” said Dağlı, who added that the organization believes the results will improve in a few years through the continued implementation of the ban.

“Cigarettes are a product that affect lung health very negatively. Reduced consumption is pleasing for us, but it is not enough because there is no safe dose of cigarettes: each one increases the risk to the lungs,” said professor Muzaffer Metintaş, the chair of the Turkish Thoracic Society.

Three million people in Turkey have suffered from chronic obstructive lung diseases due to smoking, which is also the cause of 90 percent of the lung-cancer diagnoses annually, Metintaş added.

If the rates of cigarette purchases continue to decline, the rates of health problems caused by smoking will also become lower, said professor Nazmi Bilir, a scholar at Hacettepe University’s public-health department. Bilir also noted the economical impact of the decreasing sales, saying: “Since a package of cigarettes costs approximately $2.5 in Turkey, that means $225 million has been saved just in one month. It is possible to use this kind of resource in much more beneficial areas.”

Reference: Smoking ban decreases cigarette sales, Hürriyet Daily News, 9/3/2009.

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