Poraz: Cigarette ads do not encourage smoking

European countries have already barred tobacco advertising in the print media and Internet.

The initiators of a bill to bar tobacco advertising in the print media and on the Internet decided at the last minute on Wednesday to postpone the preliminary reading of the bill to collect more MKs and get overwhelming support. The only MK among the few present in the plenum during the discussion was Shinui's Avraham Poraz, who interrupted several times and voiced his opposition - claiming such a law would hurt income of newspapers and magazines and that cigarette ads "did not encourage smoking." But the Israel Cancer Association said it was "very optimistic" that when the vote comes up in a week or two, a large majority would vote for it. "The majority of the public is in favor, and the bill is required to carry out Israel's obligations after signing and ratifying the World Health Organization's Tobacco Framework Agreement. European countries have already barred tobacco advertising in the print media and Internet, and many others are in the process of doing so," said ICA public affairs director Nava Inbar. The private member's bill was initiated by MK Haim Oron and MK Nissim Dahan, a former health minister. An ICA-sponsored poll showed on Tuesday that 64 percent of the population favors such a law. Only 36% said such advertising should continue to be allowed. At present, tobacco advertising is prohibited in the electronic media, on billboards and in youth magazines, but it is allowed in newspapers, general magazines and Israeli Internet sites. The cancer association said that tobacco advertising "legitimizes" smoking and tries to persuade them that if they smoke, they will be more popular and accepted in society, that smoking is "cool" and even "sporty."