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A special hot line will be open for two weeks starting Monday, manned by law students advising callers on how to file lawsuits against establishments that do not enforce no-smoking laws.
The service will mark World No Smoking Day, which will be observed here and abroad on Thursday. Approximately 1,500 nonsmokers die in Israel from passive smoking each year.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri will appear before a conference on smoking prevention and reduction at Kfar Hamaccabiah in Ramat Gan.
The hot line, organized by the Israel Cancer Association and the Academic Law College in Ramat Gan, will operate from 4 to 8 p.m., at (03) 612-9848.
Several people who have dined at restaurants and cafes that did not prevent smoking in no-smoking areas have won lawsuits and received damages of as much as NIS 2,000 from owners. Passive (sidestream) smoking has been proven to increase the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and asthma.
The law students will help callers present complaints against eating places and other establishments in small claims court. They received special training from attorney Amos Hausner, a leading anti-tobacco activist who heads the Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking.
Seventy-five percent of adults do not smoke. According to the law, all public places must be smoke free, with the exception of restricted areas that are completed closed and ventilated, and which are not used by nonsmokers.
The Israel Cancer Association and the Academic Law College said they hoped hundreds of lawsuits would be filed against the owners of establishments that violate the law. No-smoking laws are supposed to be enforced by local authority inspectors, but in many cases, there is no one to whom to complain.