The government is looking to build on its fight against smoking with new bans and the introduction of plain tobacco packaging.
Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu told reporters on Friday that they were assessing options to introduce new packaging for tobacco products. "It is a recommendation for countries by The World Health Organization [WHO], and Australia already does it. It has pros and cons. We are looking into it and will present it to the prime minister [Ahmet Davutoglu]. If he approves, we will propose it to Parliament for approval," he said.
The country has been lauded for its efforts in tobacco control, and the Health Ministry declared 2016 as "Tobacco Control Year." Keen to fulfill its pledge to curb smoking, the government, which introduced an indoor smoking ban in 2009, will extend the ban to several outdoors locations, such as parks, and will implement plain packaging in the coming months.
If the Ministry proceeds with the plain packaging plan, Turkey would join the list of countries considering plain packaging after Australia became the first country requiring plain packaging in 2012. Ireland, the United Kingdom, France and Finland also plan to introduce mandatory plain packaging this year.
As for smoking bans, the government plans to add parks or children's playgrounds in parks, courtyards of hospitals and other public buildings to the list of places where smoking will be banned. For restaurants, bars and eateries, business owners will be required to allocate a new smoking space for outdoor sections. Currently, smoking is allowed in outdoors sections of private enterprises. Another ban will be imposed for shopping malls and theaters, and smoking will not be allowed within 5 meters of the entrances to those places.