Tobacco industry luring youth into smoking addiction to line its own pockets: Erdoğan

"The smoking industry has been lining its own pockets for decades, depriving millions of young people of freedom, and getting them addicted for a lifetime," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish youth via videoconference at an in Istanbul on Sunday as severely criticizing the for luring youth into the lifetime addiction.

Marking May 31 World No Tobacco Day, Turkey's president on Sunday hit out at the , saying it lured millions of young people into smoking addiction.

"The tobacco industry has been lining its own pockets for decades, depriving millions of young people of freedom, getting them addicted for a lifetime," Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told Turkish youth via videoconference at an anti-smoking event in Istanbul.

Erdoğan said temporary closures of hookah-smoking and entertainment venues introduced to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus would remain "for a while longer."

"For us, human health is above all other concerns. In the coming period, we'll continue our sensitivity and determination in this matter," he added.

Erdogan also noted that his government had been subject to accusations of both the tobacco industry and their advocates in their fight against cigarettes, alcohol and drugs for the past 18 years.

"These demands are not acceptable. It's almost as if they can deceive us, they come to us, saying 'electronic cigarettes cause no harm.' I don't accept them even if they are not harmful at all."

Turkey in February banned the import of e-cigarettes and related products as part of its fight against smoking.

Asserting that the tobacco industry had tried many different ways to find new customers for the "poison" they produce, Erdoğan accused the industry of propaganda and manipulation.

Furthermore, he reiterated that his government had placed the highest tax on cigarettes to help incline users to quit.

The World Health Organization (WHO) named May 31 World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the damaging effects of widespread tobacco use.

This year, the day focused on protecting children and young people from exploitation by the tobacco and nicotine industry, according to the WHO's website.






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