A bill that would prohibit smoking in most parts of sports stadiums was passed on its first reading in the Knesset plenum on Monday. It was initiated by a group of MKs headed by Adi Kol of Yesh Atid.
According to the private members’ bill, smoking would not be allowed except for in two groups of seats, set aside by the stadium management, and a smoking room to be used only during breaks in the game.
The number of seats where smoking is to be allowed will not exceed 25 percent of all seats, while the space for smoking rooms used during breaks will not exceed 25 percent of the space set aside for breaks, according to the bill.
The smoking rooms must be separate from non-smokers, closed and with appropriate ventilation that will not interfere with other areas.
Kol said that originally she wanted to bar smoking entirely, as do many places around the world, but opposition by MKs influenced by tobacco lobbyists defeated the initiative.
The proponents of the bill suggested that when buying tickets, one could decide whether to sit in a non-smoking or smoking section.
Smoking-cessation experts note that enforcement of the law, if passed, would be very difficult unless inspectors are able to catch them in the act and are not overwhelmed by hefty and powerful smokers in the stadium.
In addition, the experts opposed having smoking-rooms anywhere, as these are being phased out around the globe.
Likud Beytenu MK Reuven Rivlin, who began his career as a soccer enthusiast involved with Betar Jerusalem, said that he even got nicotine poisoning when attending meetings on budgets.
“That made me stop smoking. Since then, I run in the fields like a 20-year-old. What a wonderful life one could have without smoking.
One of the hardest thing for former smokers is to be exposed passively to smoking. Smoking areas in stadiums must be separate so it will not disturb non smokers,” he said.
Twenty-three MKS supported the bill and one voted against. It will go to the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee for preparation for its second and third readings.