A Health Ministry order that will prohibit smoking in addition public places – indoors and out – was approved on Wednesday by the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee.

As of 60 days from the publication of the regulations, smoking will be prohibited in places where outdoor events are held and attended by more than 50 people: in zoos, indoor or outdoor parks, swimming pools, sports fields, playgrounds, facilities where physical activity takes place such as basketball courts and gyms; and inside and outside hospitals and clinics, kindergartens and nursery schools, covered or underground parking lots, government offices, courts and religious councils.

Hospitals, clinics, government offices, parking lots, zoos and events will be permitted to set smoking areas within 10 meters of the entrance or exit, provided that they are not a nuisance in other parts of the place and are not near residences.

Committee chairman MK Eli Alalouf (Kulanu) emphasized that the committee made sure to include in the order provisions that make it possible to enforce the restrictions, “but not prohibitions that are not realistic. We have expanded the limits to the extent possible, but we have to adapt the restrictions gradually... there are tensions in Israel, and in times like these, more people tend, unfortunately, to smoke.”

MK Yehudah Glick (Likud), who worked to expand the order, said: “Today we bring a message that the lives of citizens must be saved from tobacco.”

The latest State Comptroller’s Report seriously criticized the Health Ministry, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and other senior officials for being negligent in fighting smoking, being lenient on tobacco companies and for failing to push enforcement of no-smoking laws by local authorities.

Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov said the ministry will soon approve an expansion of the ban on smoking in restaurants and bars.

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