Tobacco importers' poll bolsters anti-smoking movement

Figures show only 6 percent of Israeli adults will be inconvenienced by new no-smoking law.

public smoking 224 88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
public smoking 224 88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
An Israeli cigarette importer has financed a public survey, released on Monday, that unintentionally backs up the arguments of antismoking activists. The Mutagim polling company, commissioned by the Globrands tobacco company, found that only 20 percent of Israeli adults smoke, and only 14% of the smokers light up at least six cigarettes a day. The poll, paid for by the importer of Camel, Winston, Kent and Pall Mall brands, also found that only 28% of smokers would go out to enjoy themselves less frequently because of the new law that vigorously enforces no-smoking laws. That figure constitutes just 6% of Israeli adults, making their declaration that they wouldn't visit pubs and restaurants without smoking rooms no threat to these establishments. However, the poll did not ask non-smokers whether they would go out to enjoy themselves more because of the increased possibility of clean air that the law affords - a point often raised by antismoking activists, based on statistics from various cities abroad. In addition, the survey found that 79% of smokers obey the new law, while just 21% continue to smoke in public places until others ask them to stop or threaten to call a municipal inspector to hand out fines. Most of those who said they refused to obey the law were young people aged 18 to 24. Two-thirds of smokers said they didn't care what others thought when they smoked illegally in public places, while 25% conceded that they felt "rejected" by the non-smoking majority of the public. Only 6% of smokers said they were willing to take an active part in a struggle against the new law - which sets much higher fines against smokers and adds new ones for owners of establishments that don't enforce the law - and 42% said they were only willing to sign a petition against it. However, 28% said they would live with the restrictions and not even sign a petition.