Background: In 1996, Turkey made tobacco control a health priority. The tobacco control effort was extended in July 2009 with the expansion of the smoke-free law to include all enclosed workplaces and public places and, in January 2010, with a 20% increase in the Special Consumption Tax on Tobacco.
Methods: Sales data were averaged, by month, for the period January 2005 through June 2009 to establish an 'expected' monthly sales pattern. This was the period when no new tobacco control measures were implemented. The overall monthly average was then calculated for the same period. The expected monthly sales pattern was then graphed against the overall monthly sales average to delineate a seasonal sales pattern that was used to evaluate the divergence of actual monthly sales from the 'expected' pattern.
Results: A distinct seasonal pattern was found with sales above average from May through August. Comparison of actual cigarette sales to the 'expected' monthly sales pattern following the implementation of the expanded smoke-free law in July resulted in a 5.2% decrease. Cigarettes sales decreased by 13.6% following the January 2010 Special Consumption Tax. Since the implementation of the expanded smoke-free law in July 2009 and the tax increase in January 2010, cigarette sales in Turkey decreased by 10.7%.
Conclusion: The effect of recent Turkish tobacco control policies could contribute to a reduction in the number of premature deaths related to tobacco use. Evidence has shown that periodic tax increases and strong enforcement of all tobacco control policies are essential to further decrease tobacco consumption.