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Smoking in a bar

The Knesset Health Committee on Wednesday gave its final approval to a Health Ministry directive which expands the ban on smoking in public places to outdoor events attended by more than 50 people.

Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov noted that the ministry would soon submit for the committee’s approval a directive extending the smoking ban in bars and restaurants.

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Smoking will be prohibited throughout hospitals and clinics (including areas outside those facilities); government offices; the courts; religious councils; pools; places where physical activity is conducted: sports arenas and playgrounds; in covered or underground parking lots; and in zoos.

In addition, the ban on smoking in kindergartens and government offices will be extended to a radius of about 30 feet, as is already the case for schools.

Managers of hospitals, clinics, government offices, parking lots, zoos and event venues will be given the option of allocating a smoking area to be located at least 30 feet from the entrances to their establishments.

Health Committee Chairman MK Elie Elalouf (Kulanu) said: “We’ve expanded the restrictions as much as possible, but we must allow society to get accustomed to these changes gradually. There are tensions, and during times such as these people tend to be drawn to cigarettes, unfortunately.”

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), who worked to expand the smoking ban directive, said the extended ban would save lives. “We will carry on and not give up, in order to save human lives,” he said.

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