Turks are readying themselves for a drastic smoking ban that aims to curb the habit inside bars, cafes and restaurants.
Turkey’s prime minister has likened cigarettes to terrorism and from midnight tonight, those who flout the law could face a fine of 32 euros. The measure has strong support. “Even if it is late for this ban to start, it is very good for me and people like myself,” said one cafe customer. “We were being destroyed in the places where you were allowed to smoke inside, and now I will be very comfortable everywhere I go.” But the prospect of going cold turkey, particularly for many cafe and bar owners, does not appeal. ‘‘When people come here to relax for a coffee and a cigarette or water pipe, and we say ‘you can’t smoke here,’ they will leave and never come back, or we will get in trouble for letting them smoke. In the end, they won’t be able to relax and we will have to shut down,” said a cafe owner. The ban also targets waterpipe cafes – a prospect some traditionalists are finding difficult to take in, at a time of economic crisis.