The deans of medical faculties in Israel and the heads of public health schools today called on coalition chairperson MK David Amsalem (Likud), Knesset chairperson MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), and opposition coordinator MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) to make sure that the second and third Knesset readings of the bill banning advertising and limiting marketing of tobacco and smoking products are held tomorrow. The bill, sponsored by MK Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union), MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), and MK Eyal Ben Reuven (Zionist Union), was prepared for its second and third readings two weeks ago in the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee.
Since early elections were announced last week, there has been concern that the bill would not be enacted. The bill's fate will now be determined by Amsalem and Hasson. Hasson already announced his support for the bill, which passed through many obstacles over the past year before reaching its final vote. If it is brought up for a vote, a large majority in favor is expected.
The bill could reduce the extent of cigarette consumption in Israel, especially among young people. It bans advertising of cigarettes and e-cigarettes through any medium other than printed newspapers, dictates use of the "ugliest cigarette packaging in the world," limits the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes, and mandates the concealment of smoking products at sales points. A NIS 450,000 fine is stipulated for companies breaching the law.
"The lives of one million living Israel who will die prematurely without a change are now in the balance," the deans and public health school heads wrote in the letter they sent yesterday.
The head of the medical professionals' unions and the national health councils also signed the letter, which stated, "Research shows that smoking is responsible for premature death of up to two thirds of smokers. Of 1.2 million Israeli adults currently smoking cigarettes and tobacco products, 600,000-800,000 will die prematurely, many of them in middle age, as a result of morbidity caused by smoking and its products.
"The proportion of adults in Israel who smoke is still over 20%. The weakness of Israeli regulation in the struggle against smoking has led the global tobacco industry to invest huge amounts and efforts to market and advertise its products in Israel in recent years.
"This bill is an opportunity to fix Israeli regulation on smoking… We ask you to urgently put this important bill on the 20th Knesset's agenda and make it pass its second and third readings."
Those signing the letter include Prof. Dina Ben-Yehuda, dean of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Medicine; Prof. Orna Baron- Epel, head of the University of Haifa School of Public Health; Prof. Ehud Grossman, dean of the Tel Aviv Sackler Faculty of Medicine; Ben Gurion University of the Negev President Prof. Rivka Carmi; Dr. Hagai Levine, head of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians; and Dr. Baruch Rosen, editor and partner of the Israel Journal of Health Policy Research.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 30, 2018
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