|Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem|
Majority supports expansion of anti-smoking law
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Knesset will discuss proposals to make using tobacco products illegal at performances, bus and train stations, other locations.
The vast majority of Israelis support the enforcement of smoking prohibitions
both indoors and outdoors, according to a study by Dr. Leah Rosen, a Tel Aviv
University researcher who studies smoking and its prevention.
Wednesday morning, the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee will
discuss government proposals to amend no-smoking laws so that using tobacco
products will be illegal at outdoor performances, bus and train stations,
swimming pools, stadiums, entrances to hospitals and clinics and other outdoor
locations. Additionally, areas where smoking is still allowed will have to be
designated as so.
Rosen, who works at the university’s School for Public
Health in the Sackler Medical Faculty, studied the views of 505 Israeli men and
women comprising a representative sample of the country.
The TAU research
was published in the journal Health Policy. In addition, the university’s School
for Public Health will hold a conference on June 13 on the medical and economic
effects of smoking and public policy.
Asked to comment on the proposals
to be discussed in the committee, Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking
head Amos Hausner told The Jerusalem Post that “basically, those were the
recommendations of the Gamzu Committee headed by Health Ministry
director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu.”
While he welcomed the addition of
places to the list of prohibited places, Hausner added, “The problem is that
after the recommendations the ministry made, many compromises were
“The bill was watered down significantly, even though the original
recommendation was modest to start with according to international standards,”
“All ‘smoking rooms’ in enclosed public places are an
anachronism and have long been outlawed in most civilized nations.
had committed itself to do so in the 2007 Bangkok protocol to the World Health
Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
study has proved that smoking rooms do not solve the risk of people being
exposed to tobacco- smoke poisons.
The problem is even worse in places
with central air conditioning, which spreads the poisons throughout the entire
building,” the smoking-prevention activist and lawyer said.
The new TAU
study showed that 44 percent of smokers supported the new proposals to limit
Rosen and her team asked whether more strict enforcement of
no-smoking laws would harm business, and found that not only would the
businesses not be hurt, but that the number of customers would increase in
Nearly a quarter of those queried said they
would patronize bars and pubs more if no smoking were allowed, compared to only
9% who said they were less likely to visit if the bars were free of
Fully 94% of those polled said that smoking should not be
permitted in vehicles where children were passengers.
Even 90% of smokers
In addition, 75% of the public said that smoking should be
forbidden in school courtyards – it is already banned inside the buildings – and
Ninety-three percent agreed that smoking should not be
allowed just outside entrances of medical facilities; 58% were against smoking
at train stations and 82% in the public areas in apartment
Thirty-seven percent said smoking should be prohibited in open
spaces on campus.
Almost 69% of the public said they were exposed to
smoke against their will at least once a week. When one person smokes, others
gravitate toward him, causing more disturbance to non-smokers.
smokers object to others smoking against their will – 95% of them said they were
exposed to other people’s smoke against their will at least once a week,
compared to 66% of former smokers and 66% of those who have never
Almost a quarter of smokers said it bothered them for others to
smoke near them.
Over 90% of non-smokers and 73% of former smokers said
Rosen concluded that “unfortunately, the authorities
enforcement of no-smoking laws is inadequate.”
In over 90% of pubs, there
is smoking even though it is illegal and dangerous to people’s health, she said.