Successes and Challenges in Tobacco Control-Turkish Experience of 20 Years

Bilir N.

EURASIAN JOURNAL OF PULMONOLOGY, vol.19, no.3, pp.119-123, 2017 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 19 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.5152/ejp.2017.75047
  • Page Numbers: pp.119-123


Turkey has 20 years of experience with tobacco control. The first tobacco control law came into force in 1996. This law banned smoking in some indoor public places and public transportation, selling tobacco products to children, and all kinds of advertisement of tobacco products. The law made it a duty for television networks to broadcast programs and advertisements on the harms of smoking for 90 minutes per month. After 12 years of implementation, the law was amended to include all indoor public places, including hospitality venues, as smoke-free. Political commitment has been important in establishing comprehensive smoke-free policy and implementation. Following the implementation of 100% smoke-free public places, indoor air quality was improved, employees, and clients of hospitality places were more comfortable, and smoking prevalence was reduced. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization ( WHO), highlighted Turkey's success as follows: "Turkey is the first and, to date, the only country in the world to attain the highest implementation score for all of WHO's MPOWER measures. This is a model for other countries to follow." However, still there are some areas to be developed. Violations at some indoor public places were seen, particularly at restaurants and bars during the late night period. Although smoking prevalence was reduced, the prevalence is still high and cigarette prices are too low when compared with some other countries. On the other hand, smoking among youth is increasing. More education and awareness programs should be done for the general public, more comprehensive inspections should be performed for smoke-free implementation, and higher taxes on tobacco products should be implemented.