A new law proposal that prohibits cigarette sales to someone born from 2010 and onwards may make Israel smoke free in one generation. Yesterday (Monday) this proposal was made in the Knesset.
The Ministry of Health publicized statistics of the amount of smokers and their ages. The stats show that 22.5% of the adult population 21 and up are smokers and the total smoking population is 1.2 million people. Another alarming statistic shows that children in Israel are trying their first cigarette at a younger age than ever. Already in 7th grade (12-13 years old) 2.6% of Jewish boys are smoking.
In order to battle this health hazard legislators at the Knesset hope to make sale of cigarettes illegal to anyone born after 2010 in order to wean the young generation off of this dangerous and addictive health hazard. It is quite possible that when preparing the law for passing, legislators may knock the age back to those born in 2007. People born prior to that year will still be able to buy their cigarettes so as not to hurt the current smoking population.
According to this new law you will need an ID card to buy cigarettes and anyone with an ID card dating after 2010 cannot buy them. The same fines for selling cigarettes to under 18 youth will apply to this law. Presently fines can be higher than 10,000 shekel per sale. The new law proposes that the sale is illegal whereas the purchase isn’t making stores who sell to illegal customers liable to pay tens of thousands of shekels in fines if caught besides having done a criminal offense with no risk on the part of the purchaser.
MK Zandberg told the Yedioth newspaper: “The health of the future generation rests on our shoulders. For decades we stood at the wayside and allowed the threat of tobacco to continue claiming the lives of thousands each year during which time the limited efforts of authorities was to attempt to limit smoking instead of totally stopping it. Laws that limit the age of smokers are meant to promote the message that older people can smoke whereas the message should be the opposite, loud and clear: We forbid allowing our children to join the deadly smoking cycle.”
MK Tamar Zandberg was the one who proposed the new law with the partnership of MK Yael German, MK Yehudah Glick and MK Dov Hanin. The Israeli Cancer Society is party to this new law and blesses its proposal along with doctors of the Association of Public Health in Israel.