Turkey - national smoking ban starts July 19, 2009..

June 11, 2009 - ISTANBUL - Ahead of the national smoking ban due to be put in place July 19, Health Minister Recep Akdağ has announced that ministry mangers who smoke either need to quit or give up their positions of authority.

Smoking will be banned in cafes, restaurants and other enclosed public places across Turkey in just over one month’s time. In preparation for the ban’s adoption, the Health Ministry has launched various projects around the country to raise awareness about the health risks of smoking and promote strategies for quitting before the ban.

Following a recent project in İzmir, where representatives from the ministry educated 300 people in 30 districts over three days about smoking, Dr. Oğuz Kılınç read a message from Akdağ saying the health minister was insistent that managers working in health services set an example and quit smoking ahead of the ban. "We are extremely happy with this decision by the Health Ministry and it has made us more enthusiastic to work for this cause," Kılinç said.

An expert on management law, Professor Ülkü Azrak said such an order could not be made. "If you ask me, this is a very strange decision and such a decision will not be passed by law. I therefore believe this is a wrong decision proposed by the Health Ministry," Azrak said, adding people cannot be stopped from smoking in designated areas.

Reference: Health minister tells staff to quit or leave, Hurriyet Daily News, 6/11/2009.

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