Ahead of International No-Smoking Day, Health Minister Yael German presented the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee with her ministry's report on smoking in 2012. The report showed that 20.6 percent of the population above the age of 21 smoked, 9,000 smokers died and 1,000 others died from exposure to smoke. The amount of cigarettes smoked declined by a pack a day. Increases in cigarette taxes were shown to drive smokers to cheaper cigarettes.
German said there was improvement all around but a long way to go, explaining that authorities were not doing enough to enforce laws against smoking. Ministry Executive Director Roni Gamzu said the ministry was advancing legislation to limit smoking in public places, expressing concern at the Arab sector, where the men smoke about twice as much as their Jewish counterparts, although smoking among women is half as much as in the Jewish sector. German noted that crib death among Arabs was twice as high as among Jews, suggesting a link. Acting Committee Chairman Ya'akov Margi called the education system the "Achilles Heel" of the situation, noting that he did not get the impression it was succeeding in the struggle against smoking.