ADANA - Around 1 million people employed in the coffeehouse business in Turkey fear losing their jobs after a blanket ban on smoking in public places is implemented July 19, says the president of the Turkey coffeehouses and cafes federation. They cater to 20 million customers, he says
The roughly 1 million people employed in the coffeehouses around the country risk losing their livelihoods with the advent of the smoking ban on July 19, said the president of the Turkey Coffeehouses and Cafes Federation.
Murat Ağaoğlu said the nearly 1 million people employed in this sector fear for their jobs due to the combined effects of the fast approaching smoking ban and the ongoing global economic crisis.
"At the moment coffeehouse owners are very worried because the implementation of the smoking ban will completely kill an already stagnant business," Ağaoğlu said. "We are already struggling to put bread on our tables due to the economic crisis. With this ban we will have to shutter our businesses and join the army of the unemployed," he said.
"If only our sector had been consulted before preparing the ban. We could have come up with a more workable proposal at the very least," said Ağaoğlu.
He said there are around 250,000 coffeehouses in city centers across the country and that they provide employment to close to a million people.
He said the coffeehouses have around 20 million customers and most of them are unemployed people or those close to retirement.
Ağaoğlu said even before the announcement of the smoking ban coffeehouse owners were considering creating separate smoking and non-smoking sections. He said some coffeehouse owners could create those separate section easily.
"Coffeehouses that are based on two stories can do this easily. Smokers and non-smokers would be separated. Isn’t the whole point of this ban to protect non-smokers from smoke? The new law doesn’t even allow for that," he said. He said separate sections were widespread in Spain. "Spain is a member of the European Union. If this can be implemented there then why not in our country," said Ağaoğlu.
He said fines ranging from 560 Turkish Liras to 5,600 liras would be imposed on proprietors that allow the ban to be violated and that this would lead to fights among customers and proprietors since they cannot afford to pay such fines. Ağaoğlu said this ban need to be scrutinized once again before being implemented.
Based on changes made to law number 4207 that regulates tobacco and the consumption of tobacco products the use of tobacco products was banned as of May 19 in enclosed area of buildings providing public services, buildings that cater to educational, health, production, commercial, social, cultural and sporting activities, all forms of public transport including taxis. This ban will be extended on July 19 to include restaurants, coffeehouses, cafeterias and bars. Places catering only to smokers or with separate sections for smokers will not be permitted.