Turkey - July 19th total smoking ban, will employees lose jobs..

July 7, 2009 - The roughly 1 million people employed in the coffeehouses around the country risk losing their livelihoods with the advent of the smoking ban on July 19, and the ongoing global economic crisis said the president of the Turkey Coffeehouses and Cafes Federation, Murat Ağaoğlu.

"At the moment coffeehouse owners are very worried because the implementation of the smoking ban will completely kill an already stagnant business," Ağaoğlu said. "We are already struggling to put bread on our tables due to the economic crisis. With this ban we will have to shutter our businesses and join the army of the unemployed," he said. "If only our sector had been consulted before preparing the ban. We could have come up with a more workable proposal at the very least," said Ağaoğlu.

He said there are around 250,000 coffeehouses in city centers across the country and that they provide employment to close to a million people.

He said the coffeehouses have around 20 million customers and most of them are unemployed people or those close to retirement.

He said fines ranging from 560 Turkish Liras (362.18USD) to 5,600 liras (3,621.83USD) would be imposed on proprietors that allow the ban to be violated and that this would lead to fights among customers and proprietors since they cannot afford to pay such fines. Ağaoğlu said this ban need to be scrutinized once again before being implemented.

Based on changes made to law number 4207 that regulates tobacco and the consumption of tobacco products the use of tobacco products was banned as of May 19, 2008 in enclosed area of buildings providing public services, buildings that cater to educational, health, production, commercial, social, cultural and sporting activities, all forms of public transport including taxis. This ban will be extended on July 19, 2009 to include restaurants, coffeehouses, cafeterias and bars. Places catering only to smokers or with separate sections for smokers will not be permitted.

Reference: ’Smoking ban in cafes risking jobs’, Hurriyet Daily News, 7/7/2009.

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