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Turkey to Establish Commission Against Addiction

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Deputy PM Recep Akdag says commission will fight against drugs, smoking, alcohol, and technology.

Turkey is set to establish a commission which will fight against addictions, the country's deputy prime minister announced on Sunday.

The High Commission on Combating Addiction will have four sub-groups which will fight against addiction to drugs, smoking, alcohol, and technology, Recep Akdag said.

Speaking on a live TV program at CNNTurk, Akdag said the initiative for such a commission was launched on instructions by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

He pointed out that smoking "is the most widespread health problem" in Turkey after obesity and inactivity.

Akdag said the current smoking rate in Turkey (ages 15 and above) was 31% - up from 27% in previous years. "We have to control it," he said.

Also, pointing at the link between smoking and drug addiction, he said, almost every drug addict "begins with smoking".

He warned that smoking could be a step towards other harmful substances such as marijuana and heroin.

A joint fight will be carried out against such addictions with Turkish Green Crescent Society and the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, he said.

Citizens may call a 24/7 helpline 191 to get information and support for the fight against addiction.

About technology addiction, the deputy prime minister said, it was widespread in Turkey, though not as much as in Europe and the U.S.

Internet addiction, he said, harms a person's social skills, which results in various problems.

The issue has also been on the agenda of World Health Organization (WHO), he noted.

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