Israel's government to push anti-smoking bills

i24NEWS

2 min read
New cigarette packs are displayed at a convenience store in Tzfat, northern Israel, December 20, 2019.
David Cohen/Flash90New cigarette packs are displayed at a convenience store in Tzfat, northern Israel, December 20, 2019.

About 28 percent of young men entering the army smoke, and 35 percent of the Arab sector smoke

Professor Alon Tal, a Knesset member, sat down with i24NEWS to discuss Israel's smoking habits and the ways lawmakers are looking to end the smoking epidemic.  

An official with Israel's Health Ministry testified before a Knesset committee that 8,000 Israelis die annually from smoking, with 10 percent dying due to second-hand smoke.

Video poster

According to statistics, one in five Israelis smoke.

A Knesset health committee chairwoman is pledging to pass a series of new anti-smoking bills. The bills would raise the minimum smoking age to 21, require police to enforce anti-smoking laws, and change the status of apartment porches. 

"There is a tremendous nuisance factor. When the hearings were about to take place, my cellphone was deluged with messages and requests, and complaints from citizens whose houses literally stink because they have the bad fortune of living next to a smoker."

When asked why people shouldn't be able to smoke on their own apartment patios, Tal stated, "Your rights end where my nose begins."

"Smoking is not a neutral activity, it has grave implications for people around you. In the same way, we limit the kind of noise somebody can make from their house... if you go out on your balcony and the smoke wafts up to your neighbors, that is unacceptable." 

About 28 percent of young men who enter the army smoke, and 35 percent of the Arab sector smoke, according to Tal.