I am not one of those reformed smokers who thinks everyone would be better off if they quit. I do not see it as my mission to stop others from smoking. Once I quit, I figured I no longer had a dog in that fight. "Smoke all you want," is how I see it. As long as I don't have to smoke, who cares what you do?
Here it is different. If someone offers you a cigarette, or a narghile (water pipe) or a cigar, they are extending themselves to you in a really intimate way. Smoking isn't a dirty habit here. It is a way of exchanging confidences, of indicating that this is no longer a casual conversation we are having, we are now friends, conspirators, even lovers. So you have to kind of take it seriously when someone offers you a smoke. You have been provided an opportunity to come inside as it were, to be one of us. It isn't really shameful here the way it is in the US.
Plus you add to the fact that the coffee here is universally terrible. I know, you think that the silk road and coffee exports coming through Turkey and Turkish coffee and all that hoo ha. Let me tell you something, it's OVER. When you order coffee here, your server responds with "Nescafe?" That's right, Nescafe. Instant coffee. One would have hoped that instant had passed but not here. If you order kahve, which would be Turkish Coffee, you would also be disappointed. Contemporary Turkish coffee is make in about 45 seconds using grounds, an espresso roast, hot water and a butane torch. The stuff is very hot and very sweet and very strong, but it is not flavorful. It certainly gets the job done, but it is more for effect than taste. Turks don't really drink coffee. They drink tea, and lots of it.
Still, I have not had a puff of anything at all. I have learned that the offer of a cigarette is a kindness here. I explain my deficiencies in not being able to smoke. I usually get a laugh. "Then you should smoke," my new friend says. "It will improve your health."