This edition of the GSP newsletter features spotlights on our 2009 award winners from Turkey: the Turkish National Coalition on Tobacco or Health, who received a GSP extraordinary award. Stay tuned for more spotlights on our GSP awardees in the next newsletter.
Turkey’s success in adopting, implementing and successfully enforcing smokefree legislation is truly remarkable. In the 18 months that it took to achieve the law’s passage, there was a spectacular commitment at all levels, from government and non-governmental agencies, to fight against tremendous opposition from the tobacco industry and its front groups, a hostile press, and a complex administrative and enforcement structure. On May 19, 2009, Turkey became the first Islamic tobacco growing country to successfully implement national smokefree policy legislation that complies with the guidelines for Article 8 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). In addition to providing for strong smokefree measures, the legislation also mandates significant prime time air time in all public media dedicated to tobacco control and one of the largest signage requirements in the world.
Like in many countries, Turkey’s achievement is the result of a number of individuals and organizations working constantly and in a coordinated fashion to advance policy. In Turkey, all of the organizations involved in the smokefree policy efforts are gathered under the umbrella of the Turkish National Coalition on Tobacco or Health (SSUK). SSUK leadership provided a coordinating role, monitoring media, training and briefing journalists, systematically addressing any industry attacks, organizing responses to counter unproven data and scaremongering tactics, and mobilizing their membership. It also played an extremely useful role in supporting training efforts, securing support from the main confederations of the hospitality sector, and providing legal support for legal challenges to the law.
Although it has been just over a year since its adoption, all accounts indicate that the law in Turkey is being successfully implemented. Over these few months, tobacco control actors in Turkey have organized an unprecedented national effort to change the norm on smoking in public and workplaces. As a direct result of this effort, attitudes towards tobacco smoke exposure are undergoing a revolution in Turkey. Both reported and witnessed compliance rates are high, public support for the law is high, and media coverage has been relatively good.
For more information on tobacco control in Turkey, visit www.tobaccofreecenter.org
For information on 2009 GSP award winners, visit http://globalsmokefreepartnership.org/view_letter.php?id=53