President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks criticizing people smoking in taxis has received support both from drivers and passengers. Erdoğan was answering reporters' questions at a press conference on Saturday when he lashed out at smoking in taxis. "I sometimes see [taxi] drivers smoking, and whenever I see them, I warn them and tell them it is a shame. We are now working on something to stop both drivers and backseat passengers from smoking," he said.
Erdoğan is credited with bringing the first comprehensive smoking ban to Turkey when his government imposed a landmark indoors ban for smokers in 2009. A staunch teetotaler, the president is known both for his repeated warnings to anyone smoking in his close circle, as well as a series of steps to curb nationwide smoking.
Yücel Dilek, a taxi driver in Istanbul, supports Erdoğan's request. "I have customers who only take a ride after asking if I allow smoking and customers who do not want to take the ride because of the smoking odor the previous fare left. I can't say no to smoking customers. It will be a relief for us if there is a fine for smoking for passengers," he told Demirören News Agency (DHA). Ülker Durukan, a taxi customer, said she supports taxi smoking ban. "If the driver smokes, it disturbs passengers and if he does not and passenger does, it disturbs him. This is harmful to health; there should be a fine," she said. Ayhan Ulu, another driver, said most customers are pleased not to have cigarette odor in his taxi. "I don't smoke, but I have to allow the customers so as not argue with them," he complained. İbrahim Demirci, a driver, said although there was a ban, its implementation has been lax. "It will be better if taxis are inspected more. I don't think customers will smoke again if they are fined," he said.
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