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Nationalists Disagree Over Smoking

Min. Landau warns new anti-smoking steps are draconian, MK Ariel thinks smokers have few rights and got mad at MK Rotem who lit up in his office.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/29/2011, 8:46 PM / Last Update: 5/29/2011, 10:18 PM

Flash 90

Nationalist parties have found a new subject to differ over: smoking.

Minister Uzi Landau (Israel is Our Home) said Sunday that some aspects of the new smoking laws are draconian.

“We need to find a reasonable balance between opposing smoking and the fact that you can’t use a sledgehammer to prevent it,” the Minister of Infrastructures said. “I have a feeling that some of the things the government is promoting in this matter go too far.”
 
The new plan would widen the ban on smoking to include public places such as outdoor event locations, bus and train stations. 
In addition, it would be possible to fine venues of entertainment based upon the smoke level in the air, even if no smokers were caught in the act of smoking.
 
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) disagreed with Landau. “Smokers’ rights are not an interest that needs to be considered, beyond giving addicts minimal access [to cigarettes],” he stated flatly. “The idea is to keep the streets clean of the scourge and to let youth who may start to smoke understand that society sees this with severity.”
 
“As a former smoker, it is clear to me that limiting the places where one may smoke will only assist those who wish to quit,” he added. 
 
Ten days ago, Ariel filed a complaint with the Knesset Officer against MK David Rotem (Israel is Our Home), alleging that Rotem had lit up a cigarette in Ariel’s office despite Ariel’s request that he refrain from doing so. Rotem said that he put out the cigarette the moment Ariel asked him to.