The Health Committee headed by h"Edith Silman convened this morning to receive the Minister of Health’s report on smoking in Israel – (Reporting in accordance with the provisions of section 2 of the Duty to Report Law Regarding the Health Damages Caused by Smoking Tobacco Products, 2006)"A-2000.) The discussion revealed that while 8,000 people in Israel die as a result of smoking in a year, the issue of enforcement falls between the chairs and the government’s decision from 2011 to establish a unit to combat smoking has not yet been implemented.
US"R. Committee, h"Edith Silman said: "We need to look at the health care system in the form of a ‘paid break’. Whoever harms his health, costs the system a whole lot of money and should be taxed for it. My committee will not include lobbyists from the tobacco companies. In my opinion, they should not be allowed to enter the Knesset at all – they are responsible for a very large illness. Smoking kills and harms, causes stroke and heart problems – as a country we must pay attention to this. So many people reluctantly suffer from passive smoking. Hundreds of messages are received in my office about smoking by neighbors who knowingly endanger the lives of others. Why is it unregulated in law enforcement? Why are people allowed to smoke like this in the State of Israel? Israeli citizens are abandoned to active and passive smoking. The kids learn a lot of things in school but we need to open up the subject and educate the kids to this thing that will show what causes their body with smoking. We learned in the discussion that there is no actual enforcement of the smoking laws and all citizens of the State of Israel suffer from it. You have been abandoned until now and there was no one to take care of it until now. So far. The committee will make sure that things change and if changes in legislation are needed, then we will do the same".
D"R. Efrat Aflalo, Director of the Department of Public Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health, presented to the committee the data emerging from"The Minister of Health on the state of smoking: "Every year, about 8,000 people die from smoking, 800 of them due to exposure to secondhand smoke. The smoking rate in Israel is 20.1%, and among men it is higher than the smoking rate among women and 14.8%, respectively. Also, the smoking rate among Arabs is higher than the smoking rate among Jews 24.4% and 19.1%. The smoking rate in Israel is higher than the average rate in OECD countries – Israel is in 18th place out of 44. Smoking among teenagers: 25% tried to smoke e-cigarettes – 19% of teens smoke (boys more than girls) About 50% smoke tobacco cigarettes, about 50% Electronic cigarettes. Another said d"R. Aflalo that the closures led to an increase in smoking and there was an increase in exposure to forced smoking inside the home."
Effie Sheffer, deputy director of the Department of Supervision and Enforcement at the Ministry of Health, said at the hearing that "The response to the authorities’ reporting of violations of the law in public areas is very poor, one has to think whether to change policy or add mechanisms. We changed the way we report to electronic and made it very simple and yet the scope of reporting is low. Only 30 authorities reported to us on enforcement activity. Authorities’ enforcement is on smoking in restaurants and public places. Enforcement in the sale in stores is on the police or the local authority under the Municipal By-Law".
Prof. Hagai Levin, Hugh"R. Public Health Physicians Association, Medical Association, noted: "Protecting the public from the harms of smoking and forced smoking is a very low priority. More people died from smoking than from Corona in Israel in 2020 and in 2021. There is no enforcement of a ban on smoking in public places, a ban on selling to minors, a ban on showing and more. No one is protecting us, not the Ministry of Health, not the police or the local authorities. The government needs to decide and implement how it protects the public from the number one cause of preventable death. We call on the committee and the government to promote in 2022 the establishment of the unit and a national plan and to promote specific steps urgently: warnings in photos on cigarette packs, raising the sales ban to age 21, enforcement and business licensing for tobacco sales points".
Dana Frost, director of the information, information and health promotion department at the Association for the War on Cancer, said at the hearing: "There should be a unequivocal statement to teens about smoking. Significant enforcement of the smoking ban in educational institutions, vigorous and extensive enforcement of the ban on the sale of smoking products to minors in practice".