Bill may ban addictive tobacco products

MK Hasson seeks to filter out dependency-causing ingredients such as nicotine.

March 16, 2010 06:49
2 minute read.
Bill may ban addictive tobacco products

no smoking 298. (photo credit: )

Kadima MK Yoel Hasson tabled a private member’s bill on Monday that, if passed, would be the world’s first law barring the sale of tobacco products containing addictive substances such as nicotine, or other substances, such as menthol and ammonia, that make nicotine more addictive, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

If tobacco were not addictive, the smoking rate would quickly decline (from the present 23 percent). People already addicted to nicotine who felt the need for it would be able to get it through other “delivery systems,” such as nicotine chewing gum, skin patches and other forms, but not through tobacco, the bill states.

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Hasson’s bill is due to go to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to get the go-ahead. The Health Ministry has reportedly not yet discussed the issue and whether to endorse it.

The idea of tobacco without addictive or addiction-promoting substances was first proposed in 2000 by Amos Hausner, a veteran Jerusalem lawyer and head of the Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking, during a session of the Gillon Committee hearings on how to reduce the prevalence of smoking.

Hasson, who is chairman of the Knesset State Control Committee, was a partner with Likud MK Gilad Erdan in initiating the 2007 law that put major responsibility for anti-smoking enforcement on the owners and managers of public places (in addition to municipal inspectors), and significantly increased fines against violators.

Hausner told the Post on Monday that Hasson’s bill was “revolutionary” in smoking prevention and cessation.

“Most new smokers are youngsters who smoke fewer than 100 and already get addicted. We want to prevent them from starting to smoke. At present, it is not illegal for children to smoke – it’s only illegal to sell them tobacco. Today, consumers have no [option] of smoking cigarettes that are not addictive. They are harmful without the nicotine and can harm others by exposing them to smoke, but with such a law, they will at least not be addictive,” Hausner explained.

The bill would allow a two-year delay for companies to prepare and for addicted smokers to assuage their nicotine addiction with replacement products.

Hasson noted that smoking causes the death of some 10,000 Israelis each year. This figure is more than the total number of victims of road accidents, war, terror and crime. Tobacco addiction, thanks to its nicotine content, has often been compared to addiction to hard drugs, including cocaine and heroin, the sale of which is illegal. Thus, under the bill, substances in tobacco products that cause addiction would be illegal as well.

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