Smoking ban due to coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: Turkey bans smoking in open spaces

Turkish government bans smoking in public outdoor places to prevent coronavirus infections, and extends confinement for people over 65.

Turkey has banned smoking in most public outdoor spaces since Wednesday as an additional measure to combat the increase in coronavirus infections, a day after Istanbul and Ankara banned those over 65 from going outside after 4 pm.

According to a circular issued on November 11 by the Turkish Ministry of Interior, the smoking ban is established in busy streets as well as in squares, parks, public transport stops (bus, metro, tram, etc.) and other public places. The decision came just hours after the authorities in Istanbul and İzmir announced a similar measure for these two cities, so the ministerial order extends the ban to the entire country.

In a statement, the Interior Ministry warned that many citizens are not following the recommendations and norms on the use of the mask in public spaces and that they often take it off in places such as streets, avenues and parks to smoke; in this sense, the ministry recalls that the latest studies warn about the high risk of transmission of the coronavirus through the aerosols emitted when breathing or speaking, and also from the smoke expelled when smoking.

The ministerial circular also extends to the entire country the confinement measures for those over 65 that limit their hours to go out on the street from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon: a measure that Istanbul and Ankara had already introduced the day before, although the ministry leaves to the discretion of the governors of each of the 81 provinces of Turkey the decision to apply or not this measure depending on the local evolution of the pandemic.

According to the latest data on the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey released late on Wednesday by the Ministry of Health, in the last 24 hours another 2,693 positive cases of coronavirus were registered throughout the country and 86 more deaths; therefore, the number of infections since the beginning of the pandemic already exceeds 400,000 and the number of total deaths rises to 11,145.