The smoking ban came into force this year on Sunday 19th July all over Turkey. But with winter approaching and people moving inside to keep warm just where is it safe to light up?

The Turkish Government introduced a smoking ban within all bars, cafes, coffee houses and restaurants on Sunday 19th July 2009.

[inset side=right]”In other countries that have introduced a smoking ban the authorities have worked with establishments to help them comply the with law.” A confused bar owner[/inset]The ban followed legislation that in May 2008 outlawed smoking in workplaces, shopping centres, schools and hospitals.

The new law was championed by the Turkish Prime Minister, who is a non smoker.

When the ban was first introduced government inspectors toured establishments to enforce the law.

In Fethiye a number of fines were handed out but since then nothing more has been heard.

The smoking population, despite initial fears, seem to be happy complying with ban.

But this could all change when the balmy autumn gives way to the colder and wetter winter.

Bar and restaurant owners are already wondering how they can comply with the law but keep their smoking customers comfortable during the winter.

One bar owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, said:

“Dealing with the ban this summer has been fairly straightforward with smoking customers happy to sit outside. But there is still a great deal of confusion as to what constitutes ‘outside’. We have a covered area outside but aren’t sure if this is ‘outside’ in relation to the law. When we approached the authorities to clarify the situation we were left none the wiser. This is a real problem because we want to comply with the law and not break it, but we, and our customers, face the risk of hefty fines if we are found in breach. In other countries that have introduced a smoking ban the authorities have worked with establishments to help them comply with the law. This has yet to happen here.”

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 excluded 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.

But the risk of fines doesn’t just cover establishments it also extends to individuals. Smokers found smoking in prohibited areas, including bars where the owners say it’s OK to smoke, could face fines of 69 TL.

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