man smoking 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Amendments that will make it more difficult to smoke will be introduced by the
Health Ministry in two months, ministry director-general Dr. Ronni Gamzu
said at a session of the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee on
He was speaking less than two weeks after the ministry unveiled a
plan to reduce the amount of tobacco use over the coming years.
ministry had said it would set up a special unit to reduce smoking that would be
budgeted by the Treasury to the tune of NIS 50 million, but the Finance
Ministry’s budgets division said the money must be provided by the Health
Ministry instead. No discussion of the unit’s budget was raised at the
Gamzu said: “We go crazy from the steady smoking rate” that
unlike those of many countries, has not declined substantially. “The silent
majority” of the 77 percent of the public who don’t smoke want an environment
clean of smoke, he said.
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman (United
Torah Judaism) presented the committee with his No Smoking Report for 2010,
which was issued two weeks ago. Among the proposed changes would be prohibiting
cigarette vending machines, prohibiting smoking in teachers’ rooms, improved
enforcement of laws and raising tobacco taxes.
Committee chairman Haim Katz
(Likud) said the government’s enforcement of no-smoking laws “is not
serious. The [municipal inspectors] give one-and-a-half fines a day. It’s
a joke. If the Health Ministry asks to set down regulations on the matter, it
will receive the committee’s support. An order that would completely bar smoking
in schools must be promoted,” he said.
Kadima MK Gideon Ezra, who suffers
from lung cancer after smoking at least 40 cigarettes a day for most of his
life, said he is “paying the price. Children today start smoking already in
sixth grade, and that must be halted. I presented a bill to expand the number of
hours in which pupils learn about the dangers of smoking. But one must
stop torturing smokers. It won’t help. Our legislation is going in the wrong
Meretz MK Ilan Gillon agreed and called for “educating
children. [Otherwise] it’s a lost battle. I started to smoke before I was
10 years old, and I quit four months ago,” he said.
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