[JURIST] The Turkish Grand National Assembly [official website] passed a bill Thursday that prohibits smoking in government buildings, offices, bars and restaurants, and imposes stiff penalties for noncompliance. People caught smoking in designated non-smoking areas could be fined 50 Turkish lira, while companies that advertise or distribute tobacco [JURIST news archive] could be fined 250,000 lira. The bill passed with strong backing from the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party [party website, English version] of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile].
Smoking is already illegal on buses and planes in Turkey, but, despite government attempts to curb the habit, the country still has Europe's highest rate of smokers. About 60 percent of Turkish men and 20 percent of Turkish women smoke. AFP has more. The Turkish Daily News has local coverage.