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TURKEY

New regulation on tobacco products

01 Mar 2019. Packaging of tobacco products will no longer bear the logos, symbols or signs of the brands and the size of the warnings will be increased, according to a new regulation in the country's Official Gazette Friday, the Daily Sabah reported.

The new regulation by Turkey's Agriculture and Forestry aims to make products which are a clear threat to human health less attractive and will be implemented from 5 July. All old products will be taken off the shelves by 5 January 2020, the report said.

As a result, the combined health warnings on cigarettes and tobacco products will cover at least 50 per cent of the surface area of the packages, while the warning text will cover about 30 per cent and the information about quitting will cover at least 10 per cent. When the regulation becomes fully effective, the total percentage of warnings and labelling will cover approximately 85 per cent of the packaging, compared to the current 65 per cent, according to the Daily Sabah.

According to the report, the new rules will be applied to products manufactured in Turkey and imported ones from abroad. Warnings must also be written in the Helvetica font in one size, and the packs have to be plain, unsightly and uniform, furthermore no coating or foil stamping will be allowed.

In addition, cigarettes containing menthol derivatives will also be no longer available after 5 July 2019.

The regulation was announced last year and is the latest government initiative to reduce tobacco consumption. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a dedicated non-smoker who introduced a comprehensive indoor smoking ban for venues such as restaurants, bars etc. in 2009. Apart from the ban, the country has levied higher taxes on cigarettes and provided free medicines and treatments for smokers. No official figures are available, but experts say that every year more than 100,000 people die in Turkey due to smoking-related diseases. The smoking rate was 31.6 per cent in 2016, the latest available data, a decline from of 32.5 per cent in 2014, the report said.