Turkey - smoking ban compliance excellent and cigarette sales drop 15 percent..

April 6, 2010 - Officials announced on Monday, March 29th that 97 percent of businesses are in compliance with a smoking ban that was instituted on July 19 of last year and which has led to a 15 percent drop in cigarette sales since its implementation.

Turkey has moved into 14th place on a list of countries levying the highest taxes worldwide on tobacco products, with a recent rise in the private consumption tax (ÖTV) on cigarettes, which is anticipated to reduce the number of smokers by more than half a million this year. (Turkey 14th among countries with highest taxes on tobacco, TODAY’S ZAMAN ANKARA, 3/2/2010)

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, National Cigarette and Health Committee (SSUK) President Elif Dağlı said most complaints in İstanbul came from the districts of Beşiktaş, Şişli, Kadıköy and Beyoğlu. Dağlı added that businesses in Sancaktepe, Beykoz and Avcılar were the most compliant with the ban.

Since the ban went into effect, 800 inspectors have fined 1,780 businesses out of more than the 52,000 businesses they inspected. In excess of 1,000 people who did not comply with the ban were also fined. Turgut Ekmekçi, who worked to ensure compliance in Sarıyer, said most complaints came from competing businesses.

Also speaking at the press conference, İstanbul Deputy Governor Ahmet Aydın and İstanbul Health Authority Assistant Manager Macit Alemdar said inspectors would provide businesses with information on the harmful effects of smoking. Turkey has close to 22 million smokers and around 50 million non-smokers, 10 million of whom suffer from lung and cardiovascular disease. Dağlı said $50 billion a year was spent to combat illnesses contracted from smoke.

Reference: Cigarette sales drop 15 percent with smoking ban, YASEMIN BUDAK İSTANBUL, Today's Zaman, 3/30/2010.

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