Turkey - Cigarette consumption drops by 16 percent but increase in youth smoking..

October 8, 2010 - Turkey’s indoor smoking ban that took full effect as of July 2009 has resulted in cigarette sales in the country dropping by 16.2 percent this year over the same period last year, according to data from the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Agency (TAPDK).

According to these figures, 3.64 billion packs were sold in the first eight months of last year, compared to 3.1 billion this year. The effect of the smoking ban on cigarette sales was seen starting in the second half of last year, but smokers in Turkey still spend almost as much for tobacco products as the government allocates to investment.

The ban on smoking in public places first went into effect in May 2008 but was implemented gradually. The provisions of the law that introduce the smoking ban in restaurants, cafeterias and coffeehouses took full effect starting July 19, 2009. There was a significant fall in cigarette sales in 2009, during which a total of 5.4 billion packs were sold. However, the most serious drop was experienced this year. Last year in February, a total of 389 million packs were sold compared to 298 million packs this year. Even the tourism season and a higher number of foreign visitors to Turkey this year could not slow the fall. In July of this year 79 million fewer packs were sold than in July of 2008, while in August 44 million fewer packs were sold in comparison with the previous year.

During the more than four-and-a-half years from the start of 2006 up to August 2010, 25 billion packs were consumed in Turkey. In terms of single cigarettes smoked, this figure amounts to 492 billion. In monetary terms, this amounts to TL 86 billion. On average, smokers spend a total of TL 18 million on cigarettes, which nears the TL 22 billion in this year’s budget allocated by the state for hospital, school, road, utilities and other investments.

According to a recent survey by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat), 31.3 percent of individuals age 15 and higher use tobacco on a daily or regular basis; 47.9 of the smoking population are men, while 15.2 percent are women; and 8.4 percent of the 13-18 age group are smokers. The percentage of boys in this age group is 9.4 percent, while 5.3 percent are girls. These figures actually show an increase in the smoking rate for this group, which stood at 6.0 percent in 2003. TurkStat figures also show that tobacco addiction has become more common among women in comparison with the past.

Reference: Cigarette consumption in Turkey drops by 16 percent, Today's Zaman, 10/7/2010.

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