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C'tee bans smoking in some outdoor areas
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
‘Watered-down’ amendment banning smoking in some outdoor public places could be tougher, say public health experts.
The Israel Cancer Association both congratulated MKs on Wednesday for increasing
the types of places where smoking will be prohibited, and expressed
disappointment that the legislation had been watered down.
to no-smoking laws, approved by the Knesset’s Labor, Social Affairs and Health
Committee and implemented by order, makes it illegal to light up cigarettes and
other tobacco products at outdoor performances; within 10 meters of entrances to
hospitals and clinics; or in bus and train stations, swimming pools, indoor
stadiums, outdoor wedding locations, swimming pools, public shelters; and in
other outdoor locations.
In addition, it will prohibited to light up
anywhere inside synagogues, churches and mosques, old-age homes, cultural
centers, vehicles used for teaching people to drive, and in central bus stations
except for completely separate smoking rooms, if they have been set aside. Those
areas where smoking is still allowed will have to be designated as such with
Smoking in stairways and passages in these buildings is also
The committee said that the amount of space allocated in
restaurants and cafes as smoking areas is “much too big” and that the new order
restricts this to 15 square meters. In wedding and other event halls, no more
than 25 percent of the sitting space may be set aside for smokers.
rule was objected to, without success, by Shai Berman, chairman of the
Restaurants, Cafes and Bars Association.
The Health Ministry said it
intends to prohibit smoking completely in the workplace, since “smoking rooms”
and filtering systems do not prevent smoke from being breathed in by
But the ICA said the committee did not add to list other
important outdoor locations such as stadiums, amphitheaters and courtyards of
community centers and youth movement facilities.
ICA spokeswoman Edna
Peleg said that in view of the decrease in the age of smokers, it is very
important to limit smoking in public places where youths spend a lot of time.
The changes will be implemented 30 days after the order is published in the
official Reshumot state gazette.
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman
and his director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu said the ministry would do all it can
to prevent people from being exposed to tobacco smoke in public places. But
Gamzu objected to smoking outside places frequented by youth, saying: “You
should have protected these children!” The committee-approved order is based on
recommendations by a public committee to reduce the amount of smoking – but it
was weakened, apparently due to lobbyists’ pressures on the
The order also did not prohibit actors in theaters to smoke
as part of plays and other performances.
A Tel Aviv University study
published recently in a prominent medical journal and reported this week by The
Jerusalem Post found that the vast majority of Israelis support the enforcement
of smoking prohibitions both indoors, such as in pubs and bars, and in numerous
outdoor locations. Dr. Leah Rosen of the university’s School for Public Health
in the Sackler Medical Faculty studied the views of 505 Israeli men and women,
who compromised a representative sample of the country.
head of the Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking, commented on the order
that the rest of the civilized world is increasingly outlawing “smoking rooms”
because the smoke reaches others through air-conditioning pipes. “The bill was
watered down significantly, even though the original recommendation was modest
to start with according to international standards,” he said.