Turkish Green Crescent (Yeşilay) head Muharrem Balcı is pleased with recent changes in the laws regarding water pipes, or nargile in Turkish.
Balcı said in a statement on Thursday that positive news in regard to the fight against tobacco came from Parliament this week when a third judicial reform package was passed. He noted that the amendments also bring Turkey up to the standards set in the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The reform package prohibited the sale of nargile, regardless of whether or not they contain any tobacco products, to people under the age of 18. The nargile bottles will also display written warnings with a picture as do cigarette packages. Nargile were excluded from laws concerning tobacco products as they were not accepted as such.
The law also envisages a TL 50 fine for those who discard cigarette butts, packages, the nargile mouthpiece or similar waste in public areas. If an individual gets rid of the waste immediately, the fine won't be imposed.
Emphasizing that the use of tobacco products is the leading topic that Yeşilay is battling, Balcı said in a statement that Turkey's success in fighting against tobacco is welcomed by the rest of the world.
Speaking about Turkey's shortcomings regarding the FCTC, Balcı said that inspection of the promotion of tobacco products was lacking, allowing the association of tobacco brands with other companies and products outside the tobacco industry. He added that it is no longer permitted to promote tobacco products with other products or services. With the new regulations, all products other than those related to the tobacco industry are banned from displaying images or signs promoting the use of tobacco.
“This way Turkey has become the best country to apply the decisions of the World Health Organization,” Balcı further said, warning that “even though all these positive developments carry us one step further in the fight against tobacco, it is wrong to say that this struggle has successfully ended. Every year millions of people die due to the negative effects of tobacco on human health.”