State of Smoking in Israel
Party to the world health organization framework convention on tobacco control (who FCTC):
Since the who FCTC:
- Smoking reduction: Smoking rates have declined in men and women from 38.6 percent and 22.1 percent in 2000 to 27.3 percent and 12.6 percent in 2013, according to the latest data available.
- Bans: Smoking is prohibited in government buildings, educational facilities, hospitals, enclosed sport facilities, and buses in Israel. There have been discussions surrounding an increase in restrictions at restaurants, bars, and workplaces, beginning around 2010. However, these regulations have not been implemented.
- Health warnings: Text warnings are required to cover 30 percent of all tobacco packaging surface area. There has been recent interest in adding pictorial warnings, but this has been met with opposition by some government officials.
- Tobacco tax rates: Taxes on packs of cigarettes have risen in the past few years. The most recent increase, in 2013, brought the toll to three shekels a pack.
Tobacco products cannot be advertised in radio or television broadcasts, newspapers, public inland transport, or any public performance, per the Restriction on Advertising and Marketing of Tobacco Products Law, amended in 2001. The law also indicates there shall be no advertising that praises or supports smoking. In 2004, Israel prohibited the sale of tobacco products to minors. Warning language is required for all tobacco products, including smokeless products, and smoking is banned in public places as specified under Israel’s Prevention of Smoking and Exposure to Smoking in Public Places Law. While smokeless tobacco products such as snus and chewing tobacco are regulated as tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and e-liquid are not within the scope of “tobacco products” and are not specifically regulated in Israel.
Media coverage focuses on the high smoking rates in the military, tobacco farming territory disputes, and contradicting anti-smoking efforts by the government.
Views of Alternatives to Smoking:
Adoption of risk-reduced products has been steady, given that the Israeli government has not placed strong regulations on their advertising or sale.
By the Numbers:
- Approximately 1 million people ages 21 and older currently smoke.
- Smoking is one of the leading causes of death in Israel, shown to kill up to half of smokers.
- Approximately 8,000 Israelis die each year from medical conditions linked to smoking.
“The easiest way to end smoking in Israel would be to first give smokers knowledge about the difference in risk between different products, and second, not to limit those products with taxes and disproportionate advertising bans.”
– Zvi Herzog, Anti-smoking activist