Turkey - WHO presents Prime Minister Erdoğan with award..

The award was presented to PM Erdoğan by Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO’s regional director for Europe.

July 20, 2010 - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received a special award from the World Health Organization (WHO) for his championing of Turkey’s indoor smoking ban, which was implemented last year, on Monday, July 19, 2009 at a ceremony held at the Ankara Rixos Hotel.

Turkey - smoking ban a year later, goals are being achieved..

Interesting facts:

. The Council of State asked the Constitutional Court nearly two months ago to relax the smoking ban for kahvehanes, traditional Turkish teahouses where men gather to smoke and have tea, claiming that the ban violates personal freedoms and makes it more difficult for businesses to survive.

. nearly 92 percent of Turkey’s population approves of the smoking ban, which is a good indicator that our people prefer to side with an innovation to protect people’s health. Therefore, I believe that the Constitutional Court will make a decision beneficial for the Turkish people by rejecting the Council of State’s effort to relax the ban for kahvehanes,” Erdoğan said.

. The first phase of the law banning smoking went into effect on May 19, 2008. It prohibited smoking tobacco products in state buildings, including hallways and corridors, in all enclosed areas of educational, health, production, commercial, social, cultural and sports facilities and in public transportation vehicles, including taxis, buses, ferries and airplanes.

. On July 19, 2009, the law went into full effect, with restaurants, coffeehouses, cafeterias and bars also designated as smoke-free areas.

. Noting that the sales of cigarettes had decreased considerably following the smoking ban, Erdoğan underlined that the number of people going to hospitals due to smoking-related complications also decreased by 30 percent following the smoking ban.

. 2.5 percent of coffeehouse owners and 3.5 percent of their customers have quit smoking since Turkey extended the smoking ban to bars, restaurants and coffeehouses.

. Thirty-three percent of coffeehouse owners and 25 percent of their customers also have reported lighting up less frequently since the ban was introduced in this nation of heavy smokers, he noted.

. Tobacco consumption remains high in Turkey. The Health Ministry says up to 16 million adults -- or around 22 percent of the population -- are smokers.

Reference: PM Erdoğan receives WHO award for anti-tobacco efforts, Today's Zaman, 7/20/2010.

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