Saturday, July 18, 2009


ANKARA, Turkey (Associated Press) – At midnight Saturday Turkey extended a ban on indoor public smoking to include bars, restaurants, village coffeehouses and hookah bars. Some smokers have left the bar for its courtyard to light up, but most are carrying on smoking inside. The ban came into effect despite protests from bar and coffeehouse owners who fear it will ruin businesses that have already been hit hard by the effects of an economic crisis. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-oriented government barred smoking in offices and public transport and other public places in May 2008 in an effort to reduce the country's high smoking rates and the effects of secondhand smoke on people's health. Bars, restaurants and cafes were given a grace period that ended at midnight Saturday.

"To smoke like a Turk" is an expression used in many European countries to describe heavy smokers and the government says more than 100,000 people die annually in Turkey from smoking-related illnesses. Health Minister Recep Akdag says smoking rates have dropped seven percent since May 2008, when the ban on indoor smoking was introduced. He says more people will give up smoking once bars, restaurants and cafes are also made smoke-free.
The government has dismissed the bar and coffeehouse owners' protests and requests that special smoking rooms be set up to make sure that smokers keep coming.

"There is no reason for (cafe and bar owners) to be worried. The public supports a smoke-free environment and the only ones to suffer will be the cigarette producers and sellers," Akdag told reporters. "We are working to protect our future, to save our youth," Akdag said. The government insists the ban has the public's support. However, bar and restaurant owners were planning to stage a protest on Sunday. Yesilay, an organization which devoted to reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption, says around 40 percent of Turks over the age of 15 are smokers, consuming around 17 million packs a day.

By the influence of the age of Kali, even a pauper is proud of his penny, the women are always dressed in an overly attractive fashion to victimize the minds of men, and the man is addicted to drinking wine, smoking, drinking tea and chewing tobacco, etc. All these habits, or so-called advancement of civilization, are the root causes of all irreligiosities, and therefore it is not possible to check corruption, bribery and nepotism. Man cannot check all these evils simply by statutory acts and police vigilance, but he can cure the disease of the mind by the proper medicine, namely advocating the principles of brahminical culture or the principles of austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness.

Srila A.C. BV Swami Prabhupada:
"The Srimad Bhagavatam - Purport in Canto 7 - Chapter 5 - Verse 12"

The basic principles of irreligiosity, such as pride, prostitution, intoxication and falsehood, counteract the four principles of religion, namely austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness. ... Intoxication of all description — even smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco or the drinking of tea — must be prohibited.

Srila A.C. BV Swami Prabhupada:
"The Srimad Bhagavatam - Purport in Canto 7 - Chapter 5 - Verse 12"

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