ECONOMY

Erdoğan says he will never allow e-cigarettes in Turkey

"They [the electronic cigarette companies] asked us for a place and permission to produce these (). We didn't give it to them and we will not," Turkish President said in his remarks as speaking at an event against smoking in Istanbul.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday he will never allow electronic cigarette companies to produce their products in Turkey, urging Turks to drink tea instead.

Speaking at an event against smoking in Istanbul, Erdoğan said he had ordered his Trade Minister "never" to allow e-cigarettes in Turkey and said that tobacco companies were "getting rich by poisoning" people.

"They asked us for a place and permission to produce these (e-cigarettes). We didn't give it to them and we will not," he said, without saying which firm or firms he was referring to.

"They want to invest in Turkey...Go and make your investment elsewhere."

Around 27% percent of Turkey's total population aged over 15 smoked cigarettes in 2016, according to World Health Organization data, down from around 31% in 2010, with males making up the majority of smokers.

"Let's put down cigarettes and drink our Rize tea," Erdoğan said on Sunday, referring to tea from his hometown in the Black Sea region. "I don't make many suggestions, but as a president, I am telling those I love that this is haram (forbidden in Islam)."

Vaping, which is widely viewed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, is largely unregulated. However, several countries including Australia, Brazil, India and Japan have recently banned or limited aspects of the e-cigarette market, while the United States has announced plans to remove flavoured from stores.

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