IDF smoking 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The familiar image of admirals and generals gathered in a smoke-filled war room would be a thing of the past, according to a bill proposed by MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) Monday.
The bill would extend the current smoking ban to army bases, making it illegal to smoke in areas that do not have open-air circulation or special ventilation. Hasson told the Knesset's Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Monday that his inspiration for the bill came after a recent stint in reserve duty.
"While serving [in the] reserves three weeks ago, I realized that I could not escape the smell of cigarette smoke. It was in the bedrooms, the canteen, even the bathrooms. Soldiers should not be subjected to passive smoking just because smoke bans don't apply at army bases," said Hasson.
Passive smoke, also called secondhand smoke, is the involuntary inhalation of tobacco smoke. Current scientific evidence shows that it can cause the same damage as voluntary smoking, such as cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.
Hasson has passed several laws to tighten anti-smoking laws in Israel over the past two years. Much of that legislation, which would include higher fines for violators of smoking laws, would carry on to his new bill.
The only opposition to Hasson's bill came from the IDF, which asked that its own policing force be tasked with implementing the new rules.
"We cannot accept a foreign policing body on our bases," said an IDF representative at Monday's committee.
Hasson agreed to the IDF's stipulation, and said that a portion of the bill would be re-worded to lay down the process by which military police should enforce the anti-smoking rules.
The bill is expected to return to the Knesset plenum for a first reading later this month.