Turkey to expand smoking advertising bans

Turkish legislators are proposing to widen a ban on smoking to cafes, shopping malls and wedding and congress halls, according to draft legislation.

The draft bill, which is backed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's governing party, would also expand an already existing ban on tobacco advertising in the media and on television by outlawing television stations from airing movies or music videos showing people smoking.

Actors would also not be allowed to smoke on stage if the proposal is enacted. Movies and videos would likely have to cut scenes that show smoking if the proposal is enacted.

The ban does not cover bars or restaurants, but restaurants, cafeterias and hotels would be forced to provide segregated, well-aired, smoke-free zones.

In 1997, Turkey banned smoking in offices with more than four workers, on public transport, in sports centers and in places providing health, education and cultural services.

It also curbed cigarette advertising and ordered health warnings on cigarette packs.

But Turks are impassioned smokers and the no-smoking signs are frequently ignored. It is not unusual to see legislators smoking beneath no-smoking signs in parliament.

The draft bill is scheduled to be taken up in parliament's health committee on Thursday. It is not clear when the bill would be brought to a vote.

Lawmakers from Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party who proposed the bill said some 160,000 people die annually in Turkey from smoking, the AP reports.


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