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Tobacco Taxation in Turkey: An Overview of Policy Measures and Results

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Shops to be banned from displaying tobacco products

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/shops-to-be-banned-from-displaying-tobacco-products-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=106111&NewsCatID=340

Cigarette packages will no longer be displayed in shops selling tobacco products and new regulations on their sales will be implemented, according to a statement by the Health Ministry.

The statement also said cigarette brands will no longer be visible on packages according to the new regulation.

Recep Akdağ, the health minister, said the rate of smokers over the age of 15 increased from 23.2 percent to 27.3 percent in the last four years, in a speech he delivered at parliament’s planning and budget commission.

Akdağ’s plan aims to start a serious campaign against the use of tobacco products, adding that cigarettes would be placed in closed cabinets in shops and plain packaging for cigarettes would be introduced.

The display ban came after a series of smoking regulations were implemented earlier this year under former Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu who prohibited the sale of all sorts of cigarettes on university campuses and reduced the number of outdoor public spaces for smokers.

According to a study by Ankara-based Hacettepe University, almost 100,000 people die earlier than expected in Turkey each year due to smoking-related illnesses.

MORE COUNTRIES BANNING MENTHOL, CAPSULES, FLAVOURS

The ball is rolling internationally as more countries ban menthol cigarettes, including flavour capsules, as well as other flavoured tobacco products.

The rationale to ban menthol is clear and compelling.

Menthol soothes the throat making it easier to smoke, and makes it easier for kids to experiment and get addicted.

Menthol also discourages adults from quitting.

On 31 May 2015, the Canadian province of Nova Scotia became the first place in the world to implement a menthol cigarette ban. The menthol ban applies to all tobacco products. 7 out of 10 Canadian provinces have adopted menthol bans as part of broader flavoured tobacco bans.

The Canadian government is preparing a national menthol cigarette ban.

In the European Union (EU), a menthol cigarette ban will come into force 20 May 2020 for all 28 EU countries. Turkey and Moldova will do likewise on 20 May 2020. In Africa, Ethiopia and Uganda have adopted legislation banning flavours including menthol.

In recent years, a major tobacco industry strategy has been the marketing of cigarettes with squeezable flavour capsules. Sales of capsule cigarettes are significant and growing in many countries. While menthol is the most common flavour in capsules, other flavours are also being used.

In the EU, a ban on flavoured capsules came into force at the manufacturer level on 20 May 2016. Germany and Belgium were the first countries with cigarette capsule bans, prior to the EU requirement. Canadian provincial legislation banning menthol includes a capsule ban.

There is a positive, accelerating international trend to ban menthol, capsules and flavours in tobacco products, and thus respond to industry practices to increase tobacco product attractiveness and sales.

Rob Cunningham
Canadian Cancer Society

Bulgarian tobacco firm Bulgartabac to halt exports to Middle East: Reuters

Bulgarian tobacco company Bulgartabac said it would halt sales to the Middle East as of April 1, following media allegations its products made up a large part of the cigarettes illegally smuggled into neighbouring Turkey, Reuters reported.

Bulgartabac denied any wrongdoing, adding its exports had been carried out in full compliance with customs and trade legislation, which had been confirmed by customs and tax audits.

“Given the sensitive situation in the Middle East, Bulgartabac is stopping exports to the region in order to prevent the involvement of the company in artificially created reputation problems that could completely ruin it,”  Bulgartabac said in a statement.

Bulgartabac said the move would result in 400 job losses, about eight percent of the group’s employees.

The allegations against Bulgartabac were reported last month by the Capital daily newspaper as well as the Dnevnik website.

Last year, Bulgartabac’s exports fell 23 percent to 19.3 billion cigarettes on an annual basis.

Tobacco Control in Turkey

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