Turkish women smoke for "freedom" in male-dominated society

Turkish women smoke for

PanARMENIAN.Net - Many Turkish women start smoking when they try to find a way to relax in the male dominant society. This perhaps explains why there are so many women smoking in Turkey, Xinhua says.

As soon as she took her seat in a coffeehouse in central Istanbul on a recent afternoon, Zerrin Ertek lit up one. She seemed very confident while taking puffs on the cigarette.

Smoking is a common sight among women in Istanbul and many other parts of Turkey, where 41 percent of men and 13 percent of women smoke.

Ertek, 40, became an addict 10 years ago when she was filing for divorce. In an ill-advised practice, she started smoking as a way to make her voice heard.

"Because back then I had so much to say, but no one was listening to me," she told Xinhua.

Ertek recollected that when she gently told her husband that she wanted a divorce, she was ignored. Neither her parents and friends listened to her.

"Smoking gave me some kind of courage," Ertek said. "When I lit up one, I was thinking of myself shouting loudly and saying 'Hey listen to me! I am here and I have something to say'."

However, later she realized that what she felt about smoking was nothing but a pure illusion. It took her two years to get divorced.

Beware of the harmful effects of smoking, Ertek has reduced smoking to one cigarette only with coffee now.

In fact, smoking is prohibited in all indoor workplaces, public areas and on public transport in Turkey. But it seems that these anti-smoking measures have failed to contain smoking, which has become a social and health hazard.

The smoking rate in Turkey now has climbed to 30 percent, up from 24 percent in 2015, with the number of daily smokers growing to 17 million from 15 million, found a report released earlier this year.

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