Commercial presentation of waterpipe tobacco poses fundamental impasse for tobacco control: Web-based search results for Istanbul, 2017
More details
Hide details
Turkish National Coalition on Tobacco or Health, Turkey
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A719
Download abstract book (PDF)

Tobacco control literature alerts us to increasing prevalence of venues commercially presenting waterpipe tobacco (WPT). In Turkey, they are rapidly growing in numbers and offer a multitude of hospitality and entertainment functions for youth.

Database of restaurant search service was used to identify 1,272 venues commercially presenting WPT in Istanbul as of 12 June 2017. 350 establishments, ranked as most popular, were further scrutinized with additional information from venue websites and, for photographic evidence (2015-present) of (a) indoor smoking, (b) health warnings on waterpipe devices, (c) small children's presence as clientele, and (d) illicit products mentioned in WPT menus.

Out of 1,272 venues, 56.4% were restaurants, 30.6% cafés, 6.2% bars, 5.9% fast-food places, and 0.9% patisseries. Geographic distribution indicated increased diffusion to suburban settings (55.1%). Out of 350 venues, 90% featured indoor smoking, only 1.1% compulsory health warnings on devices, 31.1% attendance of toddlers and small children, 7.4% kids menus, 5.1% children's events, 1.7% playrooms, and 4.9% playgrounds. WTP menus available on Internet (75.1%) mentioned illicit brand names (63.5%) and flavours/mixtures (90.1%).

Three unresolved, pressing problems emanate from commercial presentation of WPT:
(a) Practical, easy, and profitable, the commonplace use of illicit WPT, additional ingredients, on-site manufacturing and mixtures make product presentation virtually impossible to regulate, inspect, and standardize effectively.
(b) Given its duration, WPT smoking is practiced as an indoor activity particularly in cold weather, resulting in permissive management policies and non-compliant spatial configurations.
(c) In a mixed use environment, children and other non-smokers inadvertently get exposed to tobacco smoke and the WPT culture. Innovative regulation is needed to address these problems based on serious questioning legal and social legitimacy of commercial presentation of WPT.