Today was the first school day in Turkey since the new ban on smoking took effect on Monday. The ban covers all enclosed public areas, with allowances for designated smoking areas for certain institutions. It used to be that, although students were never permitted to smoke, school personnel could smoke in designated areas away from contact with students.
On Monday and Tuesday we observed a national holiday, so this was the first time for everyone to get through the whole day without lighting up. It's going to be dicey for a while, since most people that I know are smokers (even though the stats say only 51% of adults), and getting through the whole day without conflagrations of any kind will take some practice.
Of course, as someone who unwillingly smokes from the unfiltered end of the cigarette, I got used to the arrangement in about a minute.
There have been plenty of anti-smoking campaigns here through the years, but they just make people feel guilty and discouraged over how hard it is to quit. In fact, the percentage of smokers in Turkey has been on the increase: it grew by 50% in the 1990s! It's no easier when those who should take health most seriously (53% of all male doctors) smoke as much as you do.
Everyone knows it's bad, and they wish their own children wouldn't take up the habit, but wishing hasn't been enough to stop a growing number of young people (14% of boys aged 7-13 at last count) from falling into the same trap.
So, to my dear friends who are not as happy about the ban, please remember that this is not a conflict in which the smokers are losers and the non-smokers are winners. Yes, it will be difficult to implement, but it will make it easier for some people to quit and for others to avoid even starting the habit. Even those who don't quit will still get through the day with fewer cigarettes. We will all feel better, and I'll be very grateful.
Sigara içmediğiniz için teşekkürler!