EU Council recommends indoor smoking ban

January 01, 2010, Friday/ 15:39:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES
An official from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Turkey office has discussed a recommendation published in the Official Journal of the European Union on Dec. 5 stating that second-hand tobacco smoke is considered a threat to public health and occupational health and safety.

The recommendation also calls on EU officials to take necessary measures according to Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which was implemented in Turkey this year.

Dr. Toker Ergüder, the WHO official responsible for the tobacco control program in Turkey, stated that the EU Council recommended that EU countries that do not have smoking bans or whose smoking bans are ineffective take strict measures to reduce exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, like the smoking ban currently in effect in Turkey.

“Similar to Turkey’s legislation concerning the indoor smoking ban, the EU proposes to establish smoke-free zones in which smoking is strictly banned,” noted Ergüder, speaking to the Anatolia news agency.

Ergüder also underlined that the EU Council has put pressure on member countries to reconsider the definition of indoor areas regardless of the material their roofs and walls are made of or whether they were built for a temporary period, saying all indoor places should be included in the smoking ban.

Commenting on the effects of the indoor smoking ban that has been implemented in Turkey since July, Ergüder discussed the decrease in tobacco consumption in the country.

“The lowest amount of tobacco consumption in the last five years was observed between July and November. Comparing the amount of cigarettes sold in the period between July and November 2009 with the figures of 2008 and 2007, it is apparent that in 2009, 233 million fewer cigarettes were sold than … in 2007, whereas 185 million fewer cigarettes were consumed than the same period of 2008,” stated Ergüder.

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