man smoking 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The cabinet will discuss a pioneering plan on Sunday morning, prepared by
experts within and outside the Health Ministry, to reduce smoking by the public
and thereby minimize damage to health.
Several MKs weighed in on the measure. "I support any move to restrict smoking in Israel," said Health Minister Yuval Steinitz, adding that he felt smoking "is evil."
Ovadia Yosef calls on faithful to quit smokingRelease delayed of report on how country can cut smoking
Transport Minister Israel Katz also expressed support, but warned that it would be difficult to enforce. "I expect people won't care about the law," he said, adding that current laws against smoking are hardly followed.
The recommendations include
establishing a special unit to supervise the long-term effort to reduce smoking,
which has gradually dropped to about 23 percent of the adult population but lags
behind other Western countries.
If accepted, the plan will bolster
protection of nonsmokers from exposure to tobacco, as numerous laws passed years
and even decades ago are not adequately implemented, and many other changes are
needed to conform to the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control that Israel has ratified but has not fully carried
The report, along with its recommendations, has been ready for
publication since February, but its publication was postponed at the last minute
on the grounds that “the Justice Ministry was not ready” with the legal
Other recommendations include banning cigarette vending machines,
requiring tobacco products to appear with graphic images of the damage of
smoking (such as yellow teeth and cancerous, black-stained lungs), limiting
duty-free sales of tobacco and further restricting tobacco
The report also recommends requiring tobacco importers and
manufacturers to report added ingredients in their products, restricting smoking
by teachers in educational institutions and prohibiting smoking at covered,
outdoor bus stations and at train stations.
The health minister,
according to the recommendations, will propose more ways to reduce the exposure
of nonsmokers to tobacco smoke. In addition, the finance minister will examine
changes in taxation to further reduce the demand for tobacco.
environmental protection minister will prepare ways to reduce the improper
disposal of cigarette butts in public spaces. Proposals for new legislation in
these spheres must be disseminated within the government within 90 days, with
the bills to be prepared within a year.
Although many middle-aged adults
have quit smoking – making the number of former smokers larger than actual
smokers – tobacco use is still prevalent among teens and young adults in their
20s and 30s.
The health damage caused by smoking is incontrovertible and
ranges from lung cancer and other malignancies to sudden infant death syndrome
and lung diseases.
The economic aspects of smoking and its effects are huge and also have to be addressed, the document
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz has already said he does not
oppose the Health Ministry’s proposals except for the establishment of a fund to
reduce smoking. Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Environmental Protection
Minister Gilad Erdan and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar support the report, and
Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Shalom Simhon has said he does not oppose
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz supports the proposals
but opposes the section that would ban smoking at train stations and at covered,
outdoor bus stations.