Israel Cancer Association (ICA) chairman Prof. Eliezer Robinson stated in a letter to Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz on Tuesday that the current military law against smoking should be changed to parallel the rigorous and clear cut civilian rules against smoking.
In civilian life, smoking is barred in all workplaces except in completely separate and well-ventilated smoking rooms, free of non-smokers.
Robinson said that the present law allows soldiers to object to others smoking in their presence but does not work if the soldier smoking is of a higher rank. These soldiers then suffer in silence rather than make the request.
He advised that Halutz take action to change the law so that soldiers will not have to ask for a "favor" from higher-ranked officers that smoking be prohibited. If the regulations are clearer, they will be enforced much better, he explained.
Military regulations prohibit smoking in the public areas of military facilities, however, smoking is allowed in a, "room or office where all those present agree to smoking there."
According to the latest Health Ministry Smoking Report, 28 percent of male draftees and 32% of female draftees smoke when they enter the service, while the rates rise substantially to 45.5% and 37.5% respectively when they are discharged.
The ICA said it is ready to set up a special team with the IDF Medical Corps to find ways to promote the battle against smoking among soldiers.