A smoking ban in bars and restaurants will come into force this Sunday 19th July. But will it be enforced?

The Turkish Government will introduce a smoking ban within all bars, cafes, coffee houses and restaurants this Sunday 19th July.

It follows legislation that in May 2008 outlawed smoking in workplaces, shopping centres, schools and hospitals.

The Boss Said So

The new law has been championed by the Turkish Prime Minister who is a non smoker of course.

Supporters of the ban say he has put the health of the people above popularity.

Will it be Enforced?

It is estimated that around 35 percent of all adult Turks smoke and of those around half of those are men.
A recent survey estimates that 90 percent of Turks support the ban on smoking but are concerned that the new law will not be enforced.

According to Sabah newspaper the government has a total of 1,571 teams in 81 provinces who will be assigned to inspect that the ban is being enforced.

Meanwhile coffee house owners, the domain of the male smoker, are up in arms and are planning to take to the streets on 19th July to protest at the ban.

They say the ban will put them on the dole queues.

They could well be right.

The UK ban has put many pubs out of business as smokers stay at home to indulge their habit.

Where Can I Smoke?

According to a roughly translated version of the law 4207 bars, restaurants, hotels and other such establishments are forbidden to allow smoking indoors.

‘Indoors’ includes not only fixed buildings but also some awnings, tents and other closed in spaces that extend from the establishment.

Places exluded from the ban are few and far between but include hotels rooms allocated for smokers, small areas set aside in residential homes, certain care establishments, police stations and international ferries.

Fines of between 560 TL and 5,600 TL can be levied to establishments breaking the new law.

Not only that but individuals could also face fines of 69 TL if found smoking in prohibited areas.

So if in doubt smoke outside, and don’t forget to pick up your butts, as the law will also extend to smokers littering.

Other Changes

The law also places tough restrictions on the presentation, advertisement and use of tobacco products within the media and on display in shops.

Readers may already have noticed that scenes involving smoking in films and TV programmes shown in Turkey have the sticks greyed out in an effort to take the charm and ‘coolness’ of smoking away from impressionable viewers.

These restrictions are tougher than even those of the UK that still allow smoking to be shown on the media if it is relevant to the scene.

It is already illegal to sell tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 but the law introduces new fines and custodial sentences.

It also appears to forbid shops to display tobacco products where they can be seen by persons under the age of 18.

Will It Work?

All in all the new smoking ban shows that Turkey is getting tough on the weed and, with the prime minister the architect of the ban, it is likely to be enforced and therefore succeed.