While the municipality is responsible for enforcing the ban on smoking in public places, it has only recently begun to ban lighting up in Kikar Safra. Last week the municipal management banned smoking almost everywhere in the municipal compound, including all corridors and stairwells - places where workers would frequently convene to have a quick cigarette before returning to work. Municipal employees who continue to smoke in parts of the buildings that have now become nonsmoking areas will be subject to fines of NIS 420. The first nationwide law banning smoking in select places was put into effect in 1983, and has been periodically updated and expanded. Nearly six years have passed since the last update, which banned smoking in enclosed public spaces, including hospitals, shopping malls, workplaces and restaurants. Enforcement of the law has been sporadic at best, and Jerusalem is no exception, as reported in In Jerusalem ("No ifs, ands or butts," February 23). According to the Israel Cancer Association, 75 percent of the public supports the smoking ban. Jerusalem residents may not be aware that their city has one of the highest ratios of smokers to non-smokers among Israeli cities and one of the worst records in enforcing the ban. The Jerusalem Municipality, like other municipalities, is responsible for enforcing the law, but with only three supervisors in Jerusalem commissioned to give out fines to those who break the law, very little has been done to punish offenders. Perhaps that is beginning to change, as Jerusalem Municipality spokesman Gidi Shmerling notes: "The Jerusalem Municipality is establishing widespread activities enforcing the ban against smoking in all enclosed public places in Jerusalem, especially in Kikar Safra. In the Jerusalem Municipality buildings, as in other enclosed public places, smoking is still permitted in separate rooms with ventilation systems, given that windows are opened and that the smoke does not bother the surrounding non-smokers."

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