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Turkish Green Crescent Launches Mass Media Campaign to Support 100% Smoke Free Turkey

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York) –  World Lung Foundation (WLF) and Turkey's Green Crescent (Yesilay) today launched a new mass media campaign called ‘Sigarani da Beni de Yakma!' that vividly shows second-hand smoke can harm non-smokers, especially children. The campaign supports the second stage of Turkey's 100% smoke-free law, which bans smoking in restaurants, cafes and teahouses beginning July 19.

The ‘Sigarani da Beni de Yakma!' campaign is being aired on national TV with support from the Turkish Ministry of Health, and on more than 500 billboards and 20 overpass advertising in Istanbul through investment from the Istanbul Governarate.  Gaziosmanpasa and Izmit Municipalities are also adopting the campaign. World Lung Foundation provided technical and financial support to Yesilay to test and produce the campaign.

‘Sigarani da Beni de Yakma!' explains the health harms of second-hand smoke exposure on children as images are shown of a typical Istanbul restaurant. The ad rated highly in rigorous testing to ensure it communicates the message in a way that resonates with Turkish society and increases compliance with smoke-free. It is part of Yesilay's broader “Smoke-Free Istanbul” project which also includes a toll-free action hotline that people can call to learn more about their rights to smoke-free public places and how to report violations.

“Part of ensuring a successful smoke-free implementation is making sure the public understands benefits the law provides for citizens,” said Tuba Durgut, Project Director of Smoke-Free Istanbul, Yesilay. “We believe this media campaign will help achieve such awareness and promote compliance, and we are pleased to be working with World Lung Foundation to make this a reality.”

“Turkey has made remarkable progress in its smoke-free policies and communication has been an important part of the success,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior VP Communications, World Lung Foundation. “We are honored to participate in a truly unique collaboration between Yesilay, the Governorate of Istanbul, the Turkish Ministry of Health and the local governments of Gaziosmanpasa and Izmit.”

Leading scientific organizations, including the World Health Organization have documented the dangers of second‐hand smoke.  Just 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke produces some of the same physical reactions as would occur from smoking. Second hand smoke causes lung cancer deaths among non‐smokers, is a particular threat to children, and increases low birth‐weight deliveries among non‐smoking women.

Research has shown that mass media campaigns are an effective strategy to help people stop smoking, and a key component of the World Health Organization's M-P-O-W-E-R (W=Warn) policy package. MPOWER is endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of mortality in the world today, and is responsible for more than five million deaths each year – one in ten adults worldwide. In India, it kills almost one million people each year.