Smoking Now Banned Almost Everywhere

Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As of Sunday, smoking in all public spaces is banned in Israel. Smoking is banned, among other things, at all public events of at least 50 people. Smoking is also to be banned within ten meters of the entrance or exit of hospitals, health clinics, government offices, religious councils, municipal headquarters, courts, parking lots and zoos.

The ban on smoking in public gatherings will apply to any event where at least 50 people gather for the same purpose in a public space, including catering halls, parks, outdoor festivals and other public events. It does not include events on private property.

Even more sanctions against cigarettes are planned. The winter Knesset session will likely approve for legislation a measure that will virtually ban all advertisements for cigarettes and tobacco products. The law, sponsored by MKs Yehuda Glick and Eitan Cabel, would widen the already stringent regulations on advertisements for these products.

Under the proposal, any and all public displays that promote smoking in any way will be banned. The single exceptions will be displays in stores where tobacco products and cigarettes are sold, with the name of the products on them. The cigarettes, however, cannot be displayed openly; customers will see the display, and thus be informed that cigarettes are for sale at that establishment, and will have to ask for the cigarettes.

Also permitted will be print advertisements in newspapers – but if such an ad is run, the newspaper will be obligated to run a public service ad of the same size, adjacent to the tobacco ad. In addition, tobacco and cigarette makers will have to publish a full list of ingredients in their products, to be updated annually. Any violations of the laws will net the offending company a fine of NIS 450,000.

“We view smoking and the harm it causes as a danger to the public’s health, and the decree’s expansion will strengthen our battle against smoking out of concern for the citizens,” Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman said  when the new guidelines were decided in May.