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Economics of Curbing Smoking in Turkey: A New Agenda

Economics of Curbing Smoking in Turkey: A New Agenda

Without any doubt, smoking has severe and scientifically proven health consequences, and is one of the biggest avoidable causes of death and disability in Turkey. Almost 85 thousand deaths were attributable to tobacco use in 2017, up from 78 thousand in 2000. Almost all tobacco users in Turkey are smokers of cigarettes. If the current pattern of smoking continues in the next decade or two, more than 100 thousand people per year may die prematurely because of smoking in Turkey. Smoking related diseases and deaths are detrimental in a developing country such as Turkey, where human capital and productivity are already low. Urgent attention is needed to stop and reverse this trend.

Given the unique characteristics of the country and the current situation in Turkey, there is a clear need for more research on understanding why people go on smoking, start smoking at even earlier ages, do not use cessation aids despite knowing adverse health effects, and why policies that have worked in other countries have not worked in Turkey. TEPAV Tobacco Control Policy Research Team has previously completed a project titled “The Economics of Curbing Smoking in Turkey: A Scoping Review” with the support of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) and has identified several policy issues that necessitate further research to understand aforementioned behaviors/actions.

The following six topics are, therefore, our primary focus: (1) Smoking by women in Turkey; (2) Cessation and health perceptions; (3) Illicit trade, affordability and taxes; (4) Smoking by youth in Turkey; (5) Plain packaging, and (6) Perception on combustible cigarettes and the alternative products in Turkey. The ultimate aim of our work is to provide policy contributions to curb and eventually end the smoking epidemic and the economic and health burden associated with tobacco-attributable diseases and deaths in Turkey.

Disclaimer: This study was funded with a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Inc. (“FSFW”), a US nonprofit 501(c)(3) private foundation. FSFW had no role in the planning or execution of this study, data analysis, or publication of results.