Security forces take aim at secondhand smoke

Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee approves bill aimed at preventing tobacco use in public spaces.

December 26, 2007 00:21
1 minute read.
Security forces take aim at secondhand smoke

IDF smoking 298.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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All IDF personnel and members of Israel's other security forces can expect to be protected from the dangers of passive smoking. On Tuesday, the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee approved a bill aimed at preventing tobacco use in public spaces. The law, when passed by the plenum, will apply not only to the IDF but also to the Israel Police, Israel Prisons Service, the Defense Ministry and security units connected to the Prime Minister's Office. The bill, initiated by MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima), is meant to cancel the IDF's current exemption from laws that bar smoking in public places. Because soldiers do not have an employee-employer relationship with the army, civilian laws against smoking in public were not in force. Hasson said that the General Staff rules prohibiting public smoking on military bases have not been enforced properly. One problem is that it has been very difficult for soldiers to demand that their commanding officers observe the non-smoking rules. Committee chairman MK Yitzhak Galanti (Gil Pensioners Party) said at the meeting that "soldiers are entitled to breathe clean air just like civilians, and I hope that the law will encourage them to complain about all violations." The bill stipulates that officers, military police and others in charge of discipline in the security forces will enforce the anti-smoking rules. Violators will face a disciplinary board and be rebuked, fined and possibly even jailed.

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