Millions of people in Turkey are getting to grips with a new law which bans smoking in most enclosed public areas. Taxi passengers – and drivers – ferry-travellers, and shoppers will have to wait until they are outside before they can have a gasper. One taxi driver said: “I don’t know if will work. I can’t stop,” he said. “I’ll only quit when I go to my grave.”
But the ban, which was championed by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also has its supporters. “I think the ban is fine,” said one former smoker. “I’ve already given up for my own health. The only thing our people understand is a ban. I support it for the sake of non-smokers.”
Even outdoor venues like sports stadia and playgrounds are subject to the ban. Bars and restaurants have another year’s grace before they fall under the law. But in a country where 40 per cent of adults – that 25 million people – are addicted, sceptics say that even a 27-euro fine will not be enough to clear the air.