Smoking in Turkey is something a lot of people outside the country may consider to be second nature for the Turkish. Yet, tobacco, or tutun in Turkish, is not actually native to Turkey, but to North America. The Ottoman Empire had to import it from the Americas so that it can be cultivated in Turkey. The tobacco that has been raised in Turkey since then has acquired its own characteristics, with a full but not too strong flavor. Except for the tumbak variety of tobacco grown in the Konya region, most tobacco from Turkey is low in substances that are carcinogenic and nicotine.
Smoking in Turkey grew in popularity as tobacco became very important in the country’s economy as a cash crop for exports. In Turkey, the crop is grown in the coasts of the Aegan and Black Seas, although the variety said to be the finest is supposed to be actually coming from Macedonia, the Yenice leaf. Nowadays, Yenice is also grown in the Black Sea coast in Turkey.
Tourists visiting the country for the first time will immediately note how smoking in Turkey has become a passion, making tobacco connoisseurs ignore signs that prohibit smoking in public buildings, although public transport is mostly smoke-free.