cigarette butts 88.
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Haifa's city council has decided to take the lead on anti-smoking legislation, vowing to crack down on smokers in shopping malls at first and later in stores and restaurants.
The municipality said in a statement issued on Wednesday that as of February 1, it will begin fining citizens caught smoking in such places, or businesses that permit smoking.
Haifa's attempts at enforcing the law will be done in a "step-by-step" process with the starting point being the city's main shopping malls, it said.
The delay in applying the law came as no funding to enforce it could be found; the law will be now enforced with the assistance of traffic inspectors.
Theoretically, any store across Israel that does not have a sign stating the store is 'Non-Smoking' could be fined NIS 630. Smokers are only permitted to smoke in designated areas. Smoking in public areas could lead to a fine of NIS 310.
"We are aware of the hazards of smoking and as it is a law, we should enforce it" said Haifa Municipality spokesman Roni Grossman.
A law passed on August 2, 2001 states "smoking is now forbidden in restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theaters, and banquet halls - except in specially ventilated rooms away from other patrons," a law that seems to be unnoticed across Israel. A 1983 law stresses that smoking is permitted only if in a totally separate, ventilated room.
Early this month a Mutagim poll conducted for the Israel Cancer Association (ICA) showed that 84% of Jerusalemites wanted a ban on smoking in bar/restaurants and cafes. Those questioned were asked if they wanted similar laws that were passed in the United Kingdom, Ireland and New York.
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