On January 18, 2008, Turkish President Abdullah Gul signed a bill banning smoking in government buildings, offices, bars and restaurants. The bill had previously been approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly earlier in January 2008. Although Turkey had already banned smoking on planes and buses prior to the law's enactment, the government hoped the bill would curb smoking in the country, which has the highest percentage of smokers of any European country. The smoking ban took legal effect on July 19, 2009.
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