Man smoking 370.
(photo credit: Ina Fassbender/Reuters)
Starting this fall, 200 schools will open without smoking rooms for the
teachers, according to the Education Ministry, which announced the pilot project
In addition, these schools are to offer smoking-cessation
courses for those who want to kick the habit.
The ministry called the
decision a “revolution” that will bar smoking completely in 200 schools around
the country. “It will begin gradually in cooperation with the Education and
Health ministries that will teach health education.”
In addition, the
Education Ministry said, smoking-cessation courses subsidized by the four health
funds will be opened. “The ministries will inculcate among the school staff,
pupils and their parents habits for a healthful lifestyle,” the ministry
“Prevention is the most effective way to cope with smoking. Its
harm to health has been proven beyond all doubt,” Education Ministry
director general Dalit Shtauber said.
A steering committee with
representatives of the ministries, the local authorities and parents’ committees
are to supervise application of the new rules in the pilot project.
of the changes will be implemented soon, while others will be introduced
Asked to comment, lawyer Amos Hausner – chairman of the
National Council for the Prevention of Smoking – said the idea of smoke-free
schools was certainly a good one, and such a program should have been put in
place long ago, but “better late than never. It is sad that the pilot will
include in the next school year only 200 schools when in fact there are
thousands of educational institutions around the country.”
rate,” he added, “it will take many years to include all
Hausner said it was unfortunate that only teachers in the
pilot-project schools would teach pupils about the dangers of smoking. Although
smoking rooms have been barred in all hospitals and medical clinics, the
opposition of one of the teachers’ unions two years ago prevented making them
illegal in all schools, he said.
“The late MK Gideon Ezra suggested that
there will be at least one hour every year in all schools where the risks
smoking will be discussed. His request was denied by the then-education minister
Gideon Sa’ar,” Hausner said. “The question is whether current Education Minister
Rabbi Shai Piron will agree to adopt this measure, which was proposed by Ezra
when he was in the last stages of terminal- lung cancer caused by his smoking.
It is time that that the Education Ministry take up this initiative