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Turkey’s smoke-free campaign supports work to protect the health of non-smokers from heart disease and stroke

Media campaign implemented by Ministry of Health and Turkish Green Crescent Society promotes the Ministry of Health hotline at 184 and the mobile app, Yeşil Dedektör, to report violations of smokefree law

(Ankara, Turkey and New York,  USA): On World No Tobacco Day, Vital Strategies commends Turkey on its ongoing work to reduce tobacco use and related disease and premature death, including heart disease and stroke. Turkey is the only country with a high burden of tobacco to adopt all six World Health Organization-recommended best buy measures to reduce tobacco use and non-communicable diseases. This includes using impactful campaigns to build support and compliance with Turkey’s tobacco control laws. The Ministry of Health of Turkey (MOH) and the Turkish Green Crescent Society’s current national media campaign, “Smoke,” encourages citizens to abide by the country’s smoke-free laws and report violations to protect the health of non-smokers, including children. The campaign was developed and implemented with technical and financial support from Vital Strategies, a global health organization that works in over 60 countries, and  is being broadcast on more then 150 TV channels and 50 radio channels for at least two months.

Smoke”, a 40-second Public Service Announcement (PSA), shows people exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) in a variety of public spaces, such as restaurants, shopping areas, ferries, bus stops and sports stadiums. The PSA reminds viewers that exposure to SHS causes cancer and other diseases, like heart disease and stroke, among non-smokers. It encourages non-smokers to ask smokers to respect the country’s smoke-free laws and promotes two channels people can use to report violations of the law: a Ministry of Health hotline number, 184, and a mobile app, Yeşil Dedektör.

“Turkey has shown other high-burden countries a roadmap for reducing tobacco use,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President, Policy, Advocacy and Communication at Vital Strategies. “Communication, implementation and enforcement are critical in saving lives from this preventable killer. Turkey has been one of a handful of countries to adopt sustainable mechanisms to ensure the regular and sustained broadcast of tobacco warning messages that support the government’s policies and protect health. This mechanism has supported the broadcast of “Smoke” and the “Clinical” campaign, which will help to improve compliance with Turkey’s smoke-free laws – reducing death and disease associated with tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, which kills nearly a million people globally.”

“Smoke” was filmed in Turkey to ensure it resonated with Turkish audiences. The media campaign benefits from Turkey’s sustainable mechanism for tobacco control campaigns. Under Turkey’s comprehensive tobacco control laws, Turkish national and local, public and private radio and TV channels are required to broadcast tobacco control PSAs for a minimum of 90 minutes (30 of the 90 minutes at prime time) every month. “Smoke” builds upon a series of three PSAs, “Clinical,” which showed the harms of exposure to SHS in public places. This initial campaign was broadcast from February 16th to May 7th, 2018.

The “Smoke” PSA, and stills and transcripts from the PSA, are available upon request.

The burden of tobacco use in Turkey

In Turkey, more than 186,000 children (aged 10-14 years old) and more than 14 million adults (aged 15+ years old) – including 39.5 percent of men and 12.4 percent of women – smoke tobacco daily, according to The Tobaco Atlas. More than 65,300 people are killed by tobacco-caused disease in Turkey each year. The economic cost of smoking in Turkey is estimated at 41494 million Turkish liras,  including healthcare expenditures and lost productivity due to early mortality and morbidity. Smoke-freeSmoke-free laws have been proven to encourage smokers to implement voluntary smoking bans in  the home, protecting women and children, and to cut down and even quit their tobacco use.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health and tobacco control expert, please contact