The coronavirus crisis encouraged Israelis to quit smoking, according to a new study by the Israel Cancer Association (ICA).
The report, published on Sunday to mark World No Tobacco Day, found that more than half (51%) of Israelis between the ages of 18 and 24 who smoke, considered quitting during the coronavirus crisis. Additionally, almost half (49.2%) reported smoking less.
However, the study also found that nearly a third (31%) of Arab Israelis said someone in their family began smoking during the coronavirus. Only 8% of Jewish respondents reported that someone started smoking.
Where did people smoke during the crisis?
The survey found that 22.1% of Jews and 38.3% of Arabs smoked inside their homes, whereas 61% of smokers in general said that they chose not to smoke at home during coronavirus but instead on their balconies, or in their yards or cars.
Marked internationally, World No Tobacco Day is meant to highlight the risks associated with tobacco smoking and nicotine in general. According to the ICA, around 80,000 people in Israel died from smoking-related illnesses such as lung cancer, throat cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart attacks or strokes in the last decade.This year, the World Health Organization is using the day to focus on protecting teens from the cigarette industry’s marketing and manipulations, the association explained in a release. WHO estimates that tobacco use accounts for 25% of cancer deaths worldwide.
“You cannot believe the lies of tobacco companies, who pretend to market freedom of choice… regardless of the millions of people who pay with their health and lives each year,” said Dana Frost, ICA’s Health Promotion Specialist.
ICA’s vice chairwoman Miri Ziv added: “The Israeli public should be protected from the economic interests of the tobacco industry and maintain its public health.”