Cabinet approves creation of unit to combat smoking

Among other programs, unit's objectives will be to further prevent smoking in public areas and limit the amount of ads for tobacco products.

smoking haredi 224 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
smoking haredi 224 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Cabinet on Sunday approved the establishment of a Health Ministry unit to combat the damages of smoking.  The goal is to determine directives to improve the public's protection against coerced exposure to smoking.  To this end, the law against smoking in public places will be amended.  The advertising and marketing of tobacco products will also be restricted.
Among the new restrictions will be a ban on tobacco sales in automated vending machines, the inclusion of graphic warnings on tobacco products and a requirement to report tobacco product ingredients.  Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz will also reconsider tax rates on tobacco products and submit his recommendations to the Cabinet within 90 days.
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Education Minister Gideon Saar will decide on an experimental plan for smoke-free schools, at several educational institutions.
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan will chair a special team to formulate a plan to reduce environmental damage caused by cigarette butts.
Smoking in Israel has gradually dropped to about 23 percent of the adult population but lags behind other Western countries.
The plan is expected to bolster protection of nonsmokers from exposure to tobacco, as numerous laws passed years and even decades ago are not adequately implemented, and many other changes are needed to conform to the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that Israel has ratified but has not fully carried out.
The report, along with its recommendations, has been ready for publication since February, but its publication was postponed at the last minute on the grounds that “the Justice Ministry was not ready” with the legal work.
The report also recommended requiring tobacco importers and manufacturers to report added ingredients in their products, restricting smoking by teachers in educational institutions and prohibiting smoking at covered, outdoor bus stations and at train stations.