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Alcohol bottles to carry health warnings.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Signs warning against the possible damage caused by alcohol consumption will be placed on the bottles of alcoholic beverages within 10 months, said a statement published in the Official Gazette on Aug. 11.

After a bill restricting the sale of alcoholic beverages was approved by Parliament on May 24, the new statement about warning labels for alcoholic beverages, which was released by the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Agency (TAPDK), described three graphic warning signs and a written message that will be placed on bottles containing alcohol.

Wine, beer and spirits manufacturers may soon have to add warning labels to their bottles, such as "Alcohol is not your friend," and pictures illustrating "Do not drink while pregnant," "Don't drink and drive" and "Alcohol forbidden under 18 years of age."

The TAPDK's new statement extends the recent restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages with this new statement, adding some new rules to the previous regulations. With the new statement, bottles of alcoholic beverages will be different from those not containing alcohol.

Also, the difference between brands and packaging of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages should be more distinct. The warnings will not be permitted to be hidden, covered, cut out or placed on separate items, and will have specific font sizes according to the mass of the packages. The warnings and messages will be printed in black on a white background enclosed by a red frame.

Health warnings will be included on the bottles or packaging of alcoholic drinks. Any bottles or packages that do not carry a warning message cannot be sold. If a beverage includes any quantity of alcohol, this quantity must be written on the bottle in a way that is easily visible to consumers. All companies selling alcohol should ensure that all their products have these labels within 10 months. If businesses do not comply with these rules, they will not be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.

Some sector representatives said this new regulation will increase the price of drinks. With these new regulations, Turkey will be the only country to have four different warning labels on alcoholic beverages. These new warning labels are three times bigger than the warning labels on bottles in the US and seven times bigger than France's warning labels.The statement concerning the warning labels and messages on alcoholic bottles was published after a law passed by Parliament in May 2013, which changed the pre-existing law on the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

According to the new law, campaigns, promotions or events that aim to encourage the use or sale of these products will be prohibited. Companies that produce, import or market alcoholic beverages will not be permitted to sponsor events using the brand or logo of their products. These companies will also be forbidden from offering free alcoholic beverages as a promotion or giveaway. Violation of this bill will incur a fine of between TL 5,000 and TL 200,000. Any images of alcoholic beverages appearing on TV, including series, movies or music videos, will be blurred.

In addition, the sale of alcoholic beverages by markets and corner shops will be banned between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Those who violate this law will incur a fine of between TL 20,000 and TL 100,000. According to the bill, alcoholic beverages cannot be sold to individuals under the age of 18 either to consume on the premises or elsewhere. Violation of this could lead to a fine of between TL 10,000 and TL 500,000. If a minor's health is placed at risk, the offender will be given a prison sentence of six months to one year. Individuals under the age of 18 will not be allowed to work in the production, sale or marketing of alcoholic beverages. If individuals under the age of 18 are already working in this sector, they will be allowed to continue for one year.

The sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages will not be allowed beside highways. In addition, the sale of alcoholic beverages will be banned in the restaurants of student dormitories, medical facilities, stadiums, closed sports halls, all types of educational facilities, coffee shops, pastry shops and cafes at gas stations. Violation of this law will warrant a fine of TL 10,000 to TL 100,000.

Shops selling alcoholic beverages will need to be at least 100 meters away from schools, institutions offering university prep course, student dormitories and places of worship. The 100-meter obligation will not apply to facilities that have a tourism certificate. Shops that already have a license to sell alcoholic beverages will be exempted from this 100-meter obligation.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Aug 12, 2013
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