Health Ministry Getting Tougher on Smoking

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smokeA recent Channel 2 News documentary alleged there is an unhealthy connection between Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, senior officials in his ministry and tobacco industry tycoons. The report alleged that as a result of this lucrative connection, Litzman has blocked legislation to advance anti-smoking laws and regulations.

Litzman and Ministry officials denied the accuracy of the report. Perhaps backing the official denial is recent tougher anti-smoking legislation backed by the Ministry of Health. In fact, the Health Ministry earlier this week announced new regulations intended to discourage using cigarettes and other tobacco products as well as seeking to limit the use of public use of electronic cigarettes.

The ministry is backing legislation to block any and all tobacco advertisements, in all forums and platforms. It will also ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public areas as is the case with regular cigarettes. This would include sporting arenas, playgrounds, public centers, zoos and more. The ministry is also working to increase tobacco products’ taxes and taxation on electronic cigarettes.

According to the ministry, 8,000 Israelis die annually as a result of smoking.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)