Smoking (illustrative)
Smoking (illustrative) Nati Shoshat/Flash90

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) proposed on Monday a bill which would prohibit those born in 2010 and later from buying cigarettes - even when they come of age, Hidabroot reported. Another version of the law would lower the birth year to 2007.

Last month, Israel's Health Ministry published a report which showed that 22.5% of Israelis over age 21 smoke, and 2.6% of Israeli boys smoke cigarettes in middle school. The total number of smokers is 1.2 million. However, despite the statistics, Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) decided to bury the report indefinitely, claiming that there were "professional doubts" regarding its accuracy.

According to the bill, anyone buying tobacco would be required to show proof of identity, and those born after 2010 would not be allowed to buy cigarettes. Punishment for selling cigarettes to these people would be similar to the current punishments for those who sell cigarettes to minors today. However, under the new law, the fine and criminal offense would be the seller's not the buyer's.

A similar law has already been implemented in New Zealand, and Russia may implement such a law for those born after 2015.

"The next generation's health is our responsibility," Zandberg said. "For dozens of years, we have stood quietly and allowed the tobacco companies to continue to claim thousands of victims per year. Local authorities used the limited resources they were given to reduce the effects of smoking instead of to defeat smoking entirely."

"Laws which limit the age at which people are permitted to smoke send the message that it's okay for adults to smoke. But we need to be sure the opposite message gets through loud and clear. We cannot allow our children to join this deathly cycle of smoke."

Supporting Zandberg's law are MKs Yael German (Yesh Atid), Yehuda Glick (Likud), and Dov Khenin (Joint Arab List), as well as the Israeli Cancer Association and the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians.