people smoking outside an italian bar

Where does the Italian saying “Smoking Like a Turk” comes from?

One of the things I first noticed in Italy was that people smoked a lot. Although they have this phrase “Smoking like a Turk”. ¿Who smokes the most?

Additionally, being a non smoker it’s sometimes a big problem because tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year, from which 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. So I’d rather not take my chances, you know?

Of course, whatever happens within the geographic boundaries of a country, and their social biases, would be normal for them. So sometimes I find useless and pointless to discuss about perceptions, instead, to support my arguments I like to use numbers:

Cigarretes per adult per day

An interesting fact is that the biggest smokers outside of Eastern Europe are South Koreans, Kazakhs, and Japanese. In the same chart I pointed out Germany as a reference point to Western Europe to be fair of not only comparing Italy with underdeveloped countries like India, and to some extent Mexico itself.

But the funniest part, and the reason why I’m writing this blog entry today, is that in Italy there is a saying that goes He/she smokes like a Turk, when they mean to say that someone smokes a lot.

Well, it’s true I lack background of where that phrase actually comes from or what it used to mean, but certainly today if I’d like to say to my Italian friends that they smoke a lot, I should say that they smoke, not like Turks, but maybe like… well…. uhmmmm… like Italians do.

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Mexican blogger living abroad and writing about experiences of traveling around México, Italy, India and Spain.

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