Tobacco Consumption in Turkey since 1985


Although tobacco and cigarette were supposed to be controlled by the Monopoly in 70s and 80s, contraband goods of international cigarette companies could still penetrate the market. Contraband cigarette consumption peaked in 1985. The idea that international cigarette brands could be manufactured in Turkey began to be discussed. In order to convince the Turkish Government Philip Morris became the sponsor of Turkey, organizing an exhibition named “Süleyman the Magnificent”. In the following years, the code of Monopoly Office was amended. The change started as the Monopoly Office commenced imported cigarette sales and continued with building of the first cigarette factories by Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds. In accordance with the law, cigarette distribution was taken over by these companies as consumption reached the agreed amount. In late 80s, advertisements of international cigarette brands took place in newspapers, magazines and on billboards. They were the indispensable sponsors of all kinds of activities. For example, graduation dances of Medical School of Istanbul University were funded by Marlboro. As a result of this, cigarette consumption literally boosted. International tobacco industry considered Turkey as a great market due to its young population. The lack of legal regulation concerning cigarette and effective non-governmental organizations in early 90s made it quite easy to run business in tobacco industry.