International Conferans

  • 4th Annual International Anti-Smoking Conference organized by Turkish Anti-Smoking Association (TSSD) held at Istanbul Aydin University. / March 30, 2017

Being the first non-governmental organization established in 1999, with the only aim to fight against smoking, Turkish Anti-Smoking Association’s 4th Annual Anti-Smoking Conference was held at Istanbul Aydin University, on Thursday, March 30, 2017. Many academics, students and the members of the association attended the conference themed ‘Threat of Smoking in Development.’

“Until the Cigarette Disappears off the Face of the Earth”

The conference started off with a short movie that introduced TSSD’s works accomplished up until now. IAU Rector Prof. Dr. Yadigar İzmirli delivered the first speech and said that the entry into force of the law on tobacco control can be described as a turning point in fight against smoking.

“There is no other country that has done so much against smoking in such a short time like Turkey. According to WHO (World Health Organization), Turkey is the first and only country to meet all anti-smoking criteria of WHO. As a result of the hard work we have done, it is now forbidden to smoke in public spaces. As Istanbul Aydin University, we have also limited smoking in public spaces within our campus. But at this point we can do more. Starting age for smoking has dropped to junior high school age, so we have a long way to go. We must fight against smoking until the cigarette disappears off the face of the Earth.”

“We spend $25 billion each year”

Reminding the fact that smoking was allowed at airplanes at times when TSSD was first established, TSSD and Istanbul Aydin University President Dr. Mustafa Aydin said, “ We have struggeled hard since those days. We won our fight aganst cigarette cartels and achieved the prohibition of smoking at public spaces. I thank those who worked with us to achieve that. But we have a long way to go. Because cigarette is the most addictive and profitable poison. Looks innocent, cheap and easy to buy. Wherever you look for a place to take a breath, cigarette cartels just show up there. Althoug the law that was entered into force thanks to our efforts was quite clear, it is not enforced completely today. However, with the latest regulations, prohibitions on smoking will go deeper and there will be no room to escape from enforcing them. I believe that our fight against smoking will be successful by enhancing social awareness, more than with the help of regulations. We can not win this fight if a non-smoker does not interfere with a smoker nearby. Turkey spends almost 25 billion dollars on smoking every year. 15 billion dollars of it is spent on cigarettes and 10 billion is spent on smoking related illnesses. Also, smoking is promoted via movies and series by famous artists. I suggest our youth to be carefull not to fall into this trap.”

“Every organ is affected by smoking”

Sultanbeyli district governor Metin Kubilay emphasized the importance of education and awareness about smoking. Moderated by TSSD chairman of the executive board Prof. Dr. Melahat Donmez, the first panel included the speakers: Ender Sarac, specialist; Dr. Ali Demirbag, England Turkey Healthcare Providers Union (ITSEB) president; Bunyamin Surmeli, Meteorology Engineer and CNN Turk Weather Reporter; Buse Bicer, Haberturk News Reporter; Perihan Usta, Researcher, Author, Management Consultant and Education Scientist. “I haven’t seen any organ that is not affected by smoking as a gynecologist. We have brought the number of smokers from 27 million to 21 million in Turkey. We hope to further reduce the figure to 17 million.”

“Lack of love and compassion pushes to the cigarette”

Dr. Ender Saraç said “I am one of the people who struggle with smoking but without being aggressive,” and added “I lost many people I love because of smoking. My father, who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, caught cancer at the age of 49 and lost his life at the age of 50. I treat the smoking as a sneaky harakiri. Because, the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides in the cigarette make it difficult to absorb oxygen in the body. For this reason, heart attacks, stroke and such severe illnesses are twice as common in smokers. Since cigarette suppresses the taste receptors and smell nerves on the tongue, smokers can not get the taste of foods and go after extreme tastes. This is what destroys weight control. So we pay a great deal of unhappiness in exchange of an instant pleasure. The lack of love and compassion lies at the hearth of smoking. For this reason, it is not possible to make a smoker stop smoking with pressure. As a doctor, first I ask my patients who smoke to use drugs and objects that have a natural antidepressant effect. Then I continue with suggestion therapy. At some point, I consider a smoker as a person of treason. Because, we transfer our money to foreign cigarette cartels by smoking. I have recently been in US for two times, each being for four months. Rate of smoking in US has been reduced by 70 percent in the last 15 years. The real problem lies in developing countries, like ours.

 “Government in England takes addict parents’ children into care”

Second speaker of the panel ITSEB president Dr. Ali Demirbağ has assessed the stages of fighting against smoking in England. Cigarette advertisements were restricted in England in 1962, warnings were placed on packages in 1971, TV ads were halted in 1986 and all kinds of ads were prohibited in 2003, Demirbag said and added, “In England, a person who smokes 3 packs a day spends nearly 3,000 sterlin a year. Total money spent on cigarette is 20 billion sterlin of which 9 billion is taxes. In 2007 smoking banned in all public places and in 2015 smoking banned in automobiles if a child is present. Moreover, authorities may take addict parents’ children away. 58 million sterlin was spent between 2012-2013 for fight against smoking.

Pointing out that Istanbul Aydin University has restricted smoking in public spaces before England, Demirbag said, ‘Don’t kill yourselves’ to the young people.

“Impact of Smoking on the Environment”

Bunyamin Surmeli, CNN Weather Reporter has talked about the impact of smoking on the environment. Drawing attention to the fact that tobacco growing harms the environment to begin with, Surmeli added, “Tobacco plant leaches nutrients from the soil and puts back the harmful materials to the soil. Therefore nothing can grow in that soil afterwards. So 200,00 trees are cut down to grow tobacco plant and 600,000 trees are cut down to cure tobacco leaves each year. According to EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) 35 μg/m3 is the limit for air pollution. But one cigarette butt causes 350 micrograms per cubic meter air pollution. 5 trillion cigarette butts a day are thrown away each year. 10% of forest fires are caused by cigarette butts. According to Clean Up Australia 12% of trash of seas and oceans are cigarette butts.

“We have good regulations but bad implementation”

Starting off by saying that she has never smoked and her sister quit smoking after finding out that a person whom she thought of being 75 years old struggling with cancer was in fact 55 years old, Haberturk TV News Anchor Buse Bicer said that there are 1.1 billion smokers and 346 million who chews tobacco in the world. Underscoring that media plays an important role in fighting against smoking Bicer added, “Tobacco is a 200 billion dollars worth industry. British & American Tobacco bought Reynold’s America for 49.4 billion dollars. In Turkey, 60% of male and 22% of female population smoke. In general, 1 out of 10 deaths are caused by smoking. 600,000 are secondhand smokers. In Turkey, 300 people per day and 100,000 people per year die because of smoking. Although we have measures to discourage smoking, we have issues in implementing regulations. I am in this fight forever.”

“We smoke with our minds”

Perihan Usta, researcher, author, management consultant and education scientist touched on the relationship of cigarette with mind and said, “We smoke with our minds.”

“There is a poisonous relationship between cigarette and smokers. It all begins in the mind and causes cigarette to destroy you. All habits start at the mind and unless somewhere in our mind we code cigarette as a poison it can’t be erased from our minds. If we feed our mind with correct information for 21 days then we can get rid of cigarette.”

“We brought our struggle to an important point”

Pointing out their efforts for cigarette bans and the continuation of their work, Prof. Dr. Melahat Emine Donmez said, “We have worked hard to pass cigarette bans. We have visited the parliament with Dr. Mustafa Aydın for numerous times. We brought the issue to an important level but sometimes the bans on smoking are broken. But it was important to pass those bans. People used to smoke at buses. Today at least they don’t do that. A famous brand told their employees once that if they were not able to make people younger than 15 smoke then they could not achieve anything. Movies, TV programs and advertisements are all banned. On July 19, 1999 when the law passed there were 26 million smokers which dropped to 17 million this year. Three things threaten human health: hypertension, diabetes and cigarette. We cannot change our genes but we can protect our health by changing our life styles.”

“Cigarette causes premature deaths”

Underlining the threats posed by smoking to human health Prof. Dr. Melahat Emine Donmez also said, “The effects of smoking on babies’ health starts from pregnancy period. It causes premature birth, miscarriage and giving birth to babies who are prone to smoking addiction. It is also proven that children who are exposed to smoking in mother’s womb are prone to committing crime as well. Smoking is also the prime reason for hypertension, diabetes, lung cancer and throat cancer. All of our organs are affected by cigarette.”

Speakers were presented plaquets and Dr. Mustafa Aydın has been elected as President of Turkish Anti-Smoking Association once more at the general assembly meeting held lateron.

 

Conflicts Of Interest Between Public Health And The Tobacco Producers: III. International Anti-Smoking Conference / 10 March 2015

 

Istanbul Aydın University hosted the III. International Anti-Smoking Conference titled ‘ Conflicts of Interest Between Public Health and Tobacco Producers’ organized by the Turkish Anti-Smoking Conference. Participants to the conference included; former health and tourism minister who started a legal fight against cigarette smoking with Law 4207, Bulent Akarcali; former representative Prof. Nevzat Yalcintas; president of the Turkish Anti-Smoking Associating and Istanbul Aydin University board of trustees, Dr. Mustafa Aydin; Istanbul Aydin University Rector Prof. Yadigar Izmirli; Vice governor Kucukcekmece Sibel Gullucayır; Deputy Rector of Biruni University and Public Health Specialist Prof. Haydar Sur; Yeditepe University Faculty of Medicine Chairman of the Department of Public Health Prof. Erol Sezer; Istanbul Aydin University Faculty of Dentistry Associate Professor Cenker Zeki Koyuncuoglu.
After the opening speech, ‘conflicts of interest between public health and tobacco producers’ was put on the table for discussion by the moderator former health and tourism minister Bulent Akarcali.
‘Turkey: One of the exemplary country to fight against smoking”
After a long fight against smoking with devoted works by the Turkish Anti-Smoking Association, Dr. Mustafa Aydin emphasized the fact that Turkey is now one of the exemplary country in the world, ” In terms of fighting against smoking everyone realized the importance of Turkey. ‘Who started it?’ if you ask, the Turkish Anti-Smoking Associatin comes to one’s mind. We started this fight with a strong belief that cigarette is the biggest enemy of our country, world and humanity.  Today, we are leading the way in fighting against smoking and set an example to the world. Our association was also honored with World Health Organization awards for its dedicated works. We will fight against smoking until it diseappears completely.”
“Bills to ban smoking introduced to the parliament”
Dr. Mustafa Aydin pointed out that new bills were introduced to the parliament, ” We introduced a bill in regards to voluntary inspection to the parliament. We are working on a proposal to establish an organization for voluntary inspection like the one in traffic control. We also introduced a bill to separate smokers and nonsmokers for their health insurance payments. Our final project is to limit outdoor smoking.” Dr. Mustafa Aydin criticized tobacco producers to spread hookah smoking and anyone who wants to profit from this game. ” No profit should be made using and harming human life. Some of the business chambers fight against indoor smoking ban. They said that the coffee houses won’t be able to make money if smoking wasn’t allowed. What a thought! We have to get over such ideas first.  The only way to do it is with education and a change of mind.”
“Contemporary Imperialism: Cigarette”
Former health and tourism minister Bulent Akarcali pointed out that three of the biggest countries in the world practice modern imperialism, ” the main interests of tobacco producers should be revealed. Some of the imperialist corporations make money by putting health of others in danger. Its not only about smoking. How is contemporary imperialism is being practiced via cigarette? Think of a family who spends 300 Turkish Lira a month. This money will be taken from their own savings and food for their kids. International companies cause this, led by American, British and Japanese tobacco companies. Right now there are three leading companies exploiting the worlds health.”
“Tobacco should be under strict control like gun”
Bulent Akarcali talked about illegal cigarette smuggling, ” these are the products of multinational companies. Countries including Turkey are not sensitive enough about this issue. Tobacco producers should not sell their products to unknown buyers and sellers. Nobody should be allowed to export cigarette as they wished. Tobacco should be under strict control like guns. Production and distribution phases should be under control and companies should report their amount of sales and to whom they sell their products to, to the government.”
Istanbul Aydin University Rector Prof. Yadigar Izmirli mentioned the 4 quadrillion business volume of tobacco industry, ” Tobacco industry is the worlds biggest by 4 quadrillion business volume. With protective measures, number of people who quit smoking increase in the U.S., Canada, and European Union countries and other developed countries. Therefore, tobacco producers are now targeting countries with weak and insufficient anti-smoking laws or those who lack imposing and inspection of such laws. According to World Health Organization report 60% of Asian population smokes cigarette.”
As local administration, we fight against substance addiction with the collaboration with governorship and police department, said vice mayor of Kucukcekmece, Dr. Sibel Gullucayir and emphasized that it all begins with cigarette smoking, ” Addictive substances first offered as something similar to cigarette. If there is going to be a campaign against drugs it should start with cigarette. Therefore, the Turkish Anti-Smoking Association has a lot of responsibilities.”

 

II. Turkish Anti Smoking Conference, ‘The Black Hole in The Economy…Tobacco’ / 26 February 2014

On 26 February 2014, II. Turkish Anti Smoking Conference, ‘The Black Hole in the Economy…Tobacco’ took place at Istanbul Aydın University Florya campus. The Former Minister of Health and the legislator of the smoking ban law, Bulent Akarcalı was the moderator of the conference along with the speakers from World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Toker Ergüder, TAPDK specialist Mustafa Seydiogullari, Founder of X-Cons Haninge Dervis Dennis Aksay and Terra Project photographer Rocco Rorandelli.
The President of Turkish Anti-Smoking Association Dr. Mustafa Aydın expressed on his speech that tobacco use has been a big problem in terms of health and economics. He then pointed out the financial and social harms of smoking saying, ‘Around 5 million people in the world, and 115,000 people in our country are dying due to smoking related illnesses. Our country is spending 21 billion dollars to smoking related problems and 10 billion to health problems associated with smoking. This means that 32 billion dollars are going up in smoke.’
Dr. Aydın also reminded that 50 percent of all fires are related to smoking and the companies are targeting mostly children.
He contined, “Our society consumes 15 million packages every year. This makes 76,1 package a person every year. The market in our country comes up to 15 billion TL ever year. Along with the cost of fires and health expenses, the total cost of smoking is around 40 billion TL. This clearly shows that smoking is one biggest problems of today’s world. Turkey is 7th in the world in smoking with 115,000 tons’
The host of the Coneference, Istanbul Aydın University’s Rector, Prof. Dr. Yadigar İzmirli said that the ongoing fight against smoking over the years is quiet remarkable however not enough. She also expressed that the ban of smoking in closed areas and ban of outdoor advertisement has been effective in decreasing the smoking numbers.
“Cigarette is a sneaky form of dying”
The moderator of conference, The Former Minister of Health and the legislator of the smoking ban law, Bulent Akarcalı said that there are 3 main aspects in tobacco use in the world.
He continued, “The cartels has been infused in every system of the society. Our main objective should be preventing kids to start smoking. We are talking about a black hole today. There is the billion dollar financial side and a social side to this hole. There were cigarette ads years ago. They used to smoke in the hospitals. These are long gone but numbers are not too low. There are many people who are still smoking and killing themselves slowly.’
X-cons Founder and Chairman Derviş Dennis Aksay said that smoking is very widespread in Sweden and they are trying to prevent the young people from starting smoking and making them quit.
TAPDK specialist Mustafa Seydioğulları said, ” TAPDK was established in 2002 with the 4207 Law. At that time Turkey was a land of tobacco. Until the 70’s, tobacco, cotton, and nuts were the top 3 exports. Tobacco had a %20 share in this. Then we lost our production mass. The tobacco export was reduced from 610 ton to 80 tons by the year 1988. Then we started importing. And this is the reason why tobacco creates a black hole in our economy.
World health Organization-WHO’s Turkey representative Dr. Toker Ergüder said in his presentation, “5,5 million people die in the World every year due to smoking. WHO started to take serious steps against smoking by the early 90’s. We came to realize that countries cannot fight against smoking all by themselves. WHO decided to bring countries together in order to fight together. In 2003, the Tobacco Control Aggreement was signed and put into effect.’

“The Dark Sıde Of Smokıng” 1st Internatıonal Turkish Anti-Smoking Association Conference Was Held in Istanbul Aydin Uniıversity / 11 February 2013

 

“The Dark Side of Smoking” Conference, a February activity within the framework of Quitting Smoking on Feb 11, 2013 at Florya Istanbul Aydın University Campus. Compared to past speakers at the conference held on the smoking ban in Turkey underlines the important steps in the world, is exemplified in this area of Turkey emphasized.
Turkish Anti Smoking Association and Istanbul Aydin University organized in collaboration with “The Dark Side of Smoking” conference with the participation of Istanbul Aydın University Lecturer and Herbal Treatment Specialist Professor. Dr. Adnan Ibrahim Saracoglu, Memorial Hospital and Cardiovascular Surgery Department Cahirman. Dr.Bingür Sönmez, Former Health Minister Bülent Akarcalı, Tokat former deputy. Dr.Ahmet Feyzu İnceöz and the Economics of Tobacco Control Coordinator of the World Health Organization Aydan A. Yürekli.
Delivering the opening speech of the conference, Istanbul Aydin University Rector. Dr. Yadigâr Izmirli, said that, smoking is the world’s most deadly and underlining, about 5 million people worldwide die each year due to smoking and various diseases.
Prof. Dr. İzmirli continued her speech saying:
“As a member of TSSD, I can say that we are determined to continue our fight until the last molecule of smoking is vanished from the face of the earth. During this fight, we know that tobacco cartels will continue to stop us. They will go after new victims. And we will continue to remind everyone the terrible harms of smoking and educate our children. As TSSD and Istanbul Aydın University, we are thankful to everyone who are with us today, especially our Former Health Minister, who has a great role in the establishment of the smoking ban law’
Prof. Dr. İzmirli ended her speech saying:
“Of course setting up a law was not enough. With the understanding of ‘Rules are bond to be broken’ in our society, along with the strong lobbying against it, it was not easy to apply the law. But, with the perseverence of our Prime Minister, local authorities and Governors, we were able to create a smoke free environment in our country’
“We do our work as a religious worship”
The President of TSSD and IAU, Dr. Mustafa Aydın said ‘ıt was almost impossible to fight against smoking. We came today from very dark places. As TSSD, we followed the steps of very few caouregous people who started this fight. We still work very hard to achieve more. We always ask ourselves what we can do more. Even one person has stopped smoking because of our work, then I feel we have accomplished what we set out to do. The cartels will not leave us alone, we are aware of that since our country is a 25 billion USD market. But we will never give up, we still have too much to do.’
İstanbul Vice Governor and Chairman of Istanbul Tobacco Control Council Ahmet Deniz said that WHO has declared Turkey an example to be followed in their last report.
“The biggest punishment that a person can give to himself is smoking”
First speaker of the conference was IAU Faculty member and natural treatment specialist Prof. Dr. İbrahim Adnan Saraçoğlu said, ‘The biggest punishment that a person can give to himself is smoking . Since the 1980’s Turkish people changed the way they eat drastically. The reason fort his is the change in seeds. Today we don’t have the vitamins and minerals in tomatoes, fruits, cucumbers. The lack of these vitamins created more deaths from smoking. We do not have B1 vitamin in our foods anymore. This creates a new unhealthy generation. Lack of B1 makes us angry and therefore makes, addicts smoke more.’
Head of Heath and Vein Surgery Department at Memorial Hospital, Prof. Dr. Bingür Sönmez said ‘The statistics show that smokers tend to get heart surgeries much earlier than others. It affects the health tremendously’
Former Health Minister and the creator of the smoking ban law, Bulent Akarcalı said ‘At that time, we had a meeting with rectors and deans of the universities. We decided to focus on a campaign against smoking with the slogan ‘Goodbye Cigarette, Hello Life’. When we started this campaign you have to understand that there were many smokers in Turkey. The former Transportaion Minister Ekrem Pakdemirli was the first to support us. Together we first banned smoking in the airplanes. We were actually the first country to ban smoking in airplanes.’