Turkey - poll indicates employers, their employees and customers support smoking ban in cafes, bars and restaurants..

July 14, 2009 - The survey, conducted by the Association of Public Health Experts (HASUDER) revealed widespread support for the new ban. The study showed that 89.9 percent of all employers and employees of establishments that will be smoke-free areas under the law are in favor of the ban. Their customers also showed strong approval of the law, which will come into effect on Sunday, July 19, 2009. A full 85.9 percent of respondent customers said they support the application of the ban.

With the amendment made to Law 4207 on Prevention of Tobacco's and Tobacco Products' Harms, smoking will not be permitted in indoor sections of cafes, bars, restaurants and the like. The operators of such businesses will be responsible for monitoring their clients' compliance with the law and reporting any violation by telephoning the closest police station or by directly calling 184, the Ministry of Health's Communication Center (SABİM). Any violation on the part of operators and clients will be penalized by fines of TL 560 (362.76USD) to 5600 (3629.70USD) and TL 69 (44.73USD) respectively.

The recent survey also showed that there is not an information gap on the part of business owners about the new regulation. Fully 60.6 percent of all employers interviewed as part of the survey were reported to be active smokers. Turkey has a huge tobacco market, with immense domestic production, and almost 30 percent of its population are active smokers.

According to the survey, the support for the ban is high among smokers, too. Respectively, 86.5 percent and 76.2 percent of such employees and customers back the ban and think that there is just cause to ban people from smoking indoors for the sake of non-smokers, who extended even greater support for the ban.

Assessing HASUDER's findings, Professor Hilal Özcebe drew attention to strong popular support for the ban and said a non-smoker who is in a room where people smoke is affected as much as if he smoked a pack of 20 cigarettes. In that regard, she underlined that being with smokers in closed-door areas is equally as harmful as smoking.

Meanwhile, a previous ban went into effect on May 19 prohibiting smoking in shopping malls and was found to have no effect on the number of visitors to such places, according to another study carried out in a large shopping mall in Ankara.

Reference: Employers, employees, all support smoking ban, poll shows, Today's Zaman, 7/13/2009.

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