Ben-Gurion Airport faces lawsuit on illegal smoking

NIS 1.25b. class action targets airport for violating anti-smoking regulations.

ben gurion airport298 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
ben gurion airport298 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The National Council for the Prevention of Smoking is preparing a NIS 1.25 billion class-action suit against the Airports Authority for failing to enforce laws prohibiting smoking in public places. Chairman Amos Hausner, a leading anti-tobacco lawyer, sent a warning letter on Sunday to Eli Ovadia, the chairman of the Airports Authority, stating that if the laws were not enforced by August 15, the class-action suit would be filed. The council, said Hausner, has received many complaints about illegal smoking at Ben-Gurion Airport from Israelis and foreigners, both air passengers and staffers. According to one complaint, which was backed up by photographs, the "no smoking" and "smoking" sections were separated only by a rope. The law prohibits smoking except in separate, ventilated rooms that non-smokers do not enter. Hausner said that security personnel who were constantly in the airport were frequent complainers about the lack of enforcement. When they complained to management, they were told: "We informed management about it, and the matter is being dealt with." But no changes in enforcement have been noted, Hausner said. The NIS 1.25 billion figure was calculated by multiplying NIS 1,000 by the number of people who have passed through the airport in the past year or so. The complainants do not have to prove that their health suffered from one-time exposure to smoke. A bill that will make owners of public places responsible for enforcing no-smoking laws and set heavy fines on those who disregard them is due to pass the Knesset this week.