WHO supports smoking cessation campaign at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey

mcf_TBMM1-300x217Smoking Cessation Campaign was started at the Turkish Grand National Assembly with an opening ceremony on November 14.

Several members and staff of the parliament along with Mehmet Müezzinoğlu Minister of Health and Maria Cristina Profili World Health Organization Turkey Representative attended the opening ceremony and the seminar for the campaign which will be coordinated in cooperation with the Turkish Ministry of Health.

The smoking cessation campaign will be conducted between 2 December and 30 May said Turkish Grand National Assembly Administration Manager Ömer Faruk Öz. He said that parliamentarians and staff of the National Assembly who wants to quit smoking will be supported with assistance from the Health Center of the National Assembly. Since parliamentarians are to set examples to the public for quitting smoking, they have an important mission stated Öz.

Especially in the past 5 years Turkey has been conducting very effective anti-tobacco campaigns said Health Minister Müezzinoğlu. He thanked all the parliamentarians for being very brave in agreeing on the regulatory changes related to tobacco usage in Turkey. He said he still remembers people were saying that the law will pass but would it be implemented. Minister Müezzinoğlu thanked the President of the National Assembly and all the administration saying this is an exemplary campaign.

During her speech WHO Turkey Representative Maria Cristina Profili congratulated the Turkish Government, first to implement total ban on smoking in public places and workplaces to protect people from second-hand smoke, and now for starting a comprehensive program to help smokers to quit smoking, which is crucial to save lives of millions of current smokers.

“Turkey was one of the first countries to sign the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004 and became the first and only country so far to achieve all six MPOWER policy measures at the highest level” reminded Profili during her speech.

MPOWER is a package of the six most effective tobacco control policies measures proven to reduce tobacco use.

Profili added that Turkey’s government and civil society deserve a great credit for their success – a demonstration of their strong and sustained commitment to tobacco control to save lives of people of Turkey.

Data from 2012 clearly showed that smoking decreased by a relative 13.4% compared to 2008 in Turkey underlined WHO representative and added that over the past six years, Turkish leaders have received WHO’s tobacco control awards namely: the Prime Minister in 2010 and 2013, the Minister of Health in 2008 and the President of Health Commission of Turkish Grand National Assembly in 2012 in acknowledgement of their exemplary leadership in protecting its citizens from tobacco use.

Profili said that WHO will continue to support Turkey’s anti-tobacco efforts.