Cigarettes & Smoking in Turkey

Page update - Apr 4, 2023

How much does a pack of cigarettes cost in Turkey? Should you bring a supply with you on vacation? What are the rules on smoking, what are the fines? Is it allowed to smoke in hotel rooms and balconies? Do Turks smoke a lot, do they follow the law? Read the answers on this page.

This page is about the classic ways of smoking tobacco. For more on vaping, iQos and the like, see our in-depth review "Vaping and iQos in Turkey".

Price increases in 2023 and THREE in 2022

In Turkey, cigarette taxes are raised every year. It usually happens in spring.

In 2023, the increase was on April 3. Prices have gone up, but not by so much as 10%. See all the current prices below on this page. Hopefully there will be no more excise duty and price increases in 2023.

But there have been THREE price increases in 2022. The excise tax (SCT) went up immediately by 47%, then another 20% and 25%. Consequently, cigarette prices have increased by 2.5 times in 2022!

Cigarette prices in Turkey

Cigarettes in Turkey are now (April 2023) much cheaper than in the US or most European countries. The prices below are in Turkish liras. To understand the prices in your currency, see the current exchange rates in our review "Money in Turkey".

The last cigarette excise tax increase was at the beginning of 2023. The excise tax rose to 19.36 lira per pack. And apart from excise duty, there are other taxes. Naturally, prices got up. But in 2021-2022 the Turkish currency has depreciated, and as a result the prices of cigarettes in Turkey are now much lower than in Europe.

Examples of official prices: Winston - 34 liras; Camel - 33; LD - 32; Marlboro - 36; Parliament - 37; Chesterfield - 32; L&M - 32; Kent - 33; Rothmans - 31,5; Pall Mall - 32.

There are local cigarettes by TURKTAB. For example, Tekel 2000 costs 31.5 liras per pack. See these cigarettes in the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge. These cigarettes are of decent quality and taste. Tekel 2000 is the most consumed brand in Turkey.

Other local brands: Hazar - 27 liras; MMC - 27; Medley - 27; Point Blue - 28; Vigor - 31; President - 29; HD - 29; Winner - 28.

Warning! There are cigarettes of different times of manufacture on the shelves now. Accordingly, with different prices. So it is possible to buy cigarettes cheaper than these prices. But stocks of cigarettes at the old prices are quickly disappearing.

An interesting point about the prices

Cigarettes were once super-expensive in Turkey. At the beginning of 2015, Turkey came out on top in the world in terms of tobacco taxes and excise taxes, surpassing the UK.

How is it that cigarette prices have dropped from the highest in the world to quite moderate? It's very simple. It is not prices that have fallen, it is the Turkish lira that has depreciated catastrophically. The lira has fallen from 2.5 in 2015 to 19.2 in 2023! Cigarette prices in lira have not risen that much. As a result, cigarettes are now cheap.

Should you bring your own cigarettes?

Definitely YES. Buy cigarettes at home or in DutyFree. Why?

First. The above-mentioned prices apply in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and other cities. The prices can be 2-3 times higher in smaller resort areas where the nearest supermarket is long away. Turkish traders will not miss their chance to make a profit.

Second. The taste of Turkish cigarettes may be very unfamiliar. You should agree that it is more pleasant to smoke your regular cigarettes.

Thirdly. There are a lot of counterfeit cigarettes in Turkey, which we will discuss in more detail below.

You can bring 1 carton (200pcs) of cigarettes into Turkey, and 1 more carton can be bought at DutyFree at the airport. See our review "What you can and cannot bring into Turkey" for details.

Beware of counterfeiting!

When cigarette prices were very high (2015), the scale of the black market was astronomical. According to some estimates, illegal cigarettes took up to 50% of the market. Over time, however, the Turkish lira depreciated, people switched to official cigarettes and the black market declined.

According to research by Japan Tobacco International (JTI), the black market fell from 2.5% to 2% in 2019. By the end of 2019, however, it had risen to 4%. A very interesting point is how JTI calculates this percentage. They collect empty packs in rubbish cans and use them to determine the percentage of counterfeit cigarettes.

However, JTI's figures don't fully reflect reality: they only collect the fake cigarettes in big cities. The percentage of counterfeit cigarettes is much higher in the provinces. And it is even higher in the resorts, as the police usually do not patrol the hotels. It is easier to sell counterfeit cigarettes in hotels. According to independent experts, the black market now accounts for about 10% and grows with every tax increase.

Most of the counterfeit goods in Turkey come from China. There was an amusing incident on February 2, 2020. The police seized a large shipment of counterfeit Tekel 2000 cigarettes and arrested the organizers and distributors.

The cigarettes were exactly like the real ones, but at one point the Chinese got it wrong. They confused the Turkish letters "i" and "ı", "g" and "ğ" in several places. Recall that the Turkish language has a specific alphabet. We have no doubt that the Chinese will soon master the Turkish language, and then their fakes will be indistinguishable from the legal ones.

The quality of fakes is a big lottery. Where and how are they made? What kind of tobacco is used? What chemicals are used in production? No one knows. That's why we recommend tourists to bring their own cigarettes.

What about e-cigarettes?

As of February 25, 2020, the importation of e-cigarettes into Turkey is completely banned. The ban also applies to everything related to vaping - device parts and liquids.

The legal situation in Turkey right now is interesting. A vape itself is legal. But importing is banned. For tourists, the import of devices, liquids and sticks is allowed, but limited. For more on vaping, iQos and the like, read our in-depth review "Vaping and iQos in Turkey".

Restrictions on sales and anti-tobacco laws

Back in the 90s, Europeans had the expression "smokes like a Turk", which means smoking too much.

The Turkish government "declared war" on tobacco back in 1996. Since then, taxes have been steadily increased and smoking regulations tightened. In the first decade of this fight, the effect was weak. In 2007, a poll showed that half of all adult citizens in Turkey smoke.

In 2009, the government began its most aggressive action. At that time, new anti-tobacco measures were initiated by Recep Erdoğan (he was Prime Minister at the time, pictured near). We will not review the history of the anti-tobacco measures as it would be a waste of time. Let's talk about the situation now (April 2023).

Smoking is banned anywhere indoors, at any public transport stops. It is forbidden to smoke on the territory of health care, culture, education facilities, mosques, temples and adjacent territories. The fine for the offender is 248.38 liras (increased from 2023). The fine for the owner of the premises is 560 liras and for a repeat offender is 5,600 liras.

However, smoking is allowed on balconies if the hotel does not mind. Remember that it is against the law to smoke in rooms.

It is also forbidden to smoke in cars, and previously it was only forbidden for drivers, but from 2019 it has been banned for passengers as well. The fine is 248.38 liras. The traffic police conduct raids and fine violators. Below is just a photo from one of these raids, click on the photo to enlarge.

Tobacco advertising is prohibited, including sponsorship. It is prohibited to show smoking and cigarettes in movies. In older films, it is legal to cover the image of cigarettes with black squares. Separately, throwing cigarette butts in the street is prohibited, with fines of up to 1,362 liras.

Tobacco products are sold only to those aged 18 and over. In practice, sellers rarely require a passport. By law, it is legal to smoke shisha from the age of 18.

Interestingly, Turkey now has a call center where you can report smokers who break the law. The phone number is "184".

From 2020, neutral brown-green packaging for cigarettes has become mandatory. 85% of the back and 65% of the front is covered with health warnings and scary pictures. This is what the pack looks like. In 2021, the requirements have been further tightened, with health warnings now covering 100% of the back and 85% of the front.

Displaying tobacco products openly at the point of sale is prohibited.

However, Turks have been slow to implement anti-tobacco laws. There was a comical incident in 2014 when Recep Erdoğan was walking around Istanbul and saw people smoking on the terrace of a cafe. He was astonished that Turks were ignoring the law even in his presence. The smokers were of course punished, the establishment was fined 6,000 liras. But the case is telling - Turks don't like follow laws they don't like.

The government is planning a new package of measures for 2023. The age for buying tobacco products will increase from 18 to 21, and non-smoking employees will get shorter working hours.

Do Turks smoke a lot?

A lot. In November 2019, at a meeting on smoking, Dr. Javdet Erdöl, Provost of the University of Health, said that tobacco consumption had reached an all-time record of 118,000 tonnes in the history of the Republic of Turkey and the country was ranked 3rd in the world.

However, official WHO statistics say the Turks are only in 24th place. Who is right? The WHO or Dr Erdöll?

It is hard to say. Many older Turks in the provinces grow tobacco themselves, thankfully Turkey has an ideal climate for tobacco. Turks grow 200 thousand tons of tobacco every year. Naturally, no one takes this farm tobacco into account in the official statistics. In addition, no one knows the volume of counterfeit tobacco. It is likely that Dr Yerdöl is closer to the truth.

According to official statistics, 41% of men and 16% of women smoke in Turkey.

Loose tobacco - can you save money?

You can't save much. Right now, loose tobacco costs about 3 lira a gram. If you make own cigarettes of loose tobacco, the price of a cigarette is about the same.

Hookah tobacco

Many tourists don't only want to bring hookah, but also tobacco for it. There is not much point in buying hookah tobacco, as it is expensive. Check the hookah tobacco price in your country, compare and decide for yourself - is the point or not.

It is better to look at other interesting gifts. Read our great review "20 best gifts from Turkey".

Also good to know

- If you decide to bring hookah tobacco or cigarettes, don't forget about the restrictions. See our review "What you can and can't take out of Turkey" for details;

- Harmful habits in Turkey are generally expensive. Read our detailed review "Alcohol in Turkey";

- Tourists are rarely fined for smoking violations. In Turkey you are more likely to get into other trouble. Read our detailed review "What you can't do in Turkey" for more information.

Have a great vacation in Turkey, and read our interesting pages about the country (find the pages list below). © 2020-2024