Itongadol.- School teachers, principals, pupils and parents will have to learn their lesson: Starting in six weeks, smoking and smoking rooms will no longer be allowed anywhere in educational institutions except for universities and colleges. In addition, no one will be allowed to spoke less than 10 meters from the entrances.
This was decided on Tuesday in a unanimous vote in the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee. The regulation was initiated by the Health Ministry, which said that the average age when boys begin to light up is 15.6 years and 16 years for girls. The fact that educators were until now allowed to smoke in teachers’ rooms served as a bad example, and pupils who were not allowed to smoke in classrooms or the halls complained about the “injustice.”
When anti-smoking activists tried to bar smoking in schools in 2012, it met fierce opposition from the teachers’ unions, but this time, they listened to reason and even initiated pilots in the north for “tobacco-free schools.”
The ministry’s official in charge of fighting smoking, Haim Geva-Haspil, said that the World Health Organization has determined that smoking rooms “do not protect against being exposed to secondhand smoke.” Smoking in government offices has been completely prohibited since 2012.
Lawyer Amos Hausner, the engine behind anti-smoking legislation for decades who is head of the Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking, told the committee: “Smoking rooms must be obsolete. Around the world, they have been banned. Unfortunately, there is no budget for educating the public to stop smoking, while the tobacco companies spend yearly nearly NIS 60 million to directly promote their products and more for subliminal and other advertising.”
When Hausner mentioned in the committee The Jerusalem Post story on Tuesday that only one staffer remains in the ministry’s department for enforcing laws on smoking in public, the ministry’s head of public health Prof. Itamar Grotto, Geva-Haspel and lawyer for tobacco matters Michal Goldberg all remained silent.
Committee chairman MK Eli Alalouf said that “the war against smoking must continue in an ongoing way, especially against the situation occurring in our young people.”