[JURIST] Turkish President Abdullah Gul [official profile] Friday signed a bill banning smoking in government buildings, offices, bars and restaurants. The bill was passed [JURIST report] by the Turkish Grand National Assembly [official website] earlier this month. The ban includes penalties for anyone caught smoking in a prohibited area or any company advertising or distributing tobacco [JURIST news archive]. The ban will not take effect for another 18 months, but the government is hopeful that it will discourage smoking in the country.
Smoking is already illegal on buses and planes in Turkey, but, despite government attempts to curb the habit, the country still has Europe's highest rate of smokers. About 60 percent of Turkish men and 20 percent of Turkish women smoke. Reuters has more.