Israel uses ‘ugliest colour in the world’ to fight smoking

January 7, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Just moments before disbanding ahead of the upcoming elections, the Knesset passed the Restriction on Advertising and Marketing of Tobacco Products Bill, which puts a special twist on the combat on smoking.

Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS on 6 January, 2019

The bill passed its final reading by a 45-1 vote.

The bill, submitted by MKs Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union), Yehuda Glick (Likud), Eyal Ben Reuven (Zionist Union) and a group of other MKs, bans all cigarette and tobacco ads, except in print media. The ban extends to cigarettes, cigars, hookah (nargila) products, and papers used to roll cigarettes, and it also outlaws advertising for non-tobacco herbal substances used for smoking, as well as e-cigarettes and all affiliated devices.

The legislation makes exceptions for advertisements in stores selling the products, for ads in print media, and for smoking images used for artistic or news purposes.

The twist comes in the form of a new requirement that cigarette packages be in a brown colour, Pantone 448c, which a study has found to be the world’s ugliest colour. The packaging will also feature health warnings against smoking.

Packaging for e-cigarettes and related products will say “Warning – this product is very addictive and harmful to your health.” Packaging for other smoking products will say “Warning – smoking causes serious diseases and premature death.” A different warning will appear in the few cigarettes ads that will be permissible, which will only be in certain kinds of print media. The warning will have to take up as much space as the ad itself, and the Health Ministry will determine its text.

All packages of smoking products will be sold together with a pamphlet against smoking published by the Health Ministry.

Furthermore, stores that sell cigarettes will only be able to put them in a place where customers cannot see them, or in a separate area that cannot be seen from other parts of the store, with the exception of stores that only sell smoking products or liquor stores. In addition, companies cannot give free samples of smoking products.

The explanatory notes attached to the bill state that its purpose is “to reduce the public’s exposure to smoking products” and “protect non-smokers, especially young people and former smokers, from the effects of advertising, including those that create a positive image of smoking products.”

Ben Reuven stated after the bill became law on Monday that  “this is a historic day and an important victory in the war we are waging against the phenomenon of smoking in Israel. This bill was authored out of a sense of duty to protect the bodies and souls of our children, who are tempted and become addicted to smoking products and then, when they are adults, pay a heavy price, [both financially and in terms of health]. We are fighting for the lives of the teenagers.”

Before the vote, Glick said recited the Shehehiyanu blessing, the blessing for a momentous occasion, and said that “this is the most significant law passed in the 20th Knesset. There is no doubt that the State of Israel is a better country today. This is about human lives. According to all the experts, this law will prevent 300 deaths a year. Someone dies from smoking-related causes every hour in Israel.”

MK Dov Khenin (Joint Arab List) said that the law was “about Pikuach Nefesh (the obligation to save a life in jeopardy, according to Jewish law), no less. It is exciting to see that sometimes the public interest triumphs over the economic interests of the tobacco companies and people with interests, who exerted immense pressure in the Knesset hallways in order to block the law.”

MK Cabel said that this was “one of the most difficult laws” he has ever passed. “We were faced with tremendous forces of great influence and we succeeded in leading a real revolution that would close the rate of smoking for young people.”

Comments

2 Responses to “Israel uses ‘ugliest colour in the world’ to fight smoking”
  1. Tova Saul says:

    Ridiculous. This will do absolutely nothing to stop teenagers from stupidly diving into those addiction to look cool to their peers.

  2. Lynda Hynes says:

    BRAVO!Once again, Israel sets an example for the rest of the world.

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