Bill making proprietors enforce smoking ban moves forward

Proprietors of public places, rather than just those who smoke illegally, could receive fines for the first time.

no smoking 88 (photo credit: )
no smoking 88
(photo credit: )
A bill that will trigger a revolution in the enforcement of no-smoking laws in public places and will enact the same enforcement conditions that are already in the US and are about to be approved in Europe was approved Tuesday by a Knesset committee for its second and third readings in the Knesset. The private member's bill, initiated by MK Gilad Erdan, sets down fines for the first time against the proprietors of public places rather than just on those who smoke illegally. Erdan's bill aims at raising the fine on smokers and forbids placing ashtrays in public places that are not separate, closed and ventilated smoking rooms. Until now, proprietors was legally bound only to hang no-smoking signs. If the bill passes, which is likely, it will require owners to enforce the law in addition to municipal inspectors. If someone refuses the proprietor's request to stop smoking, he must call a city inspector. The bill has received a push from the initiative of Amos Hausner, the lawyer who heads the National Council for the Prevention of Smoking, to encourage customers in restaurants and cafes to file lawsuits against their owners in small claims courts for damage to health caused by the lack of enforcement of no-smoking laws. Erdan said the bill, when passed, will prevent the "absurd situation in which pregnant women, babies, children and nonsmokers in general are forced to breathe in harmful tobacco smoke in public places." Nearly 80 percent of the public does not smoke. During the discussion, MK Yitzhak Ziv proposed that fines collected by hospital inspectors be handed over to the hospital's coffers. Erdan's bill has been endorsed by the Israel Cancer Association because "it turns proprietors into a deterrent force and goodwill ambassadors for no-smoking laws. Its passage will be a milestone in the war against passive smoking and reduce the health damage it causes."