JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Defense Forces is waging a new war — against smoking.
The military announced Sunday that on 65 bases across the country it will stop selling cigarettes and prohibit lighting up in public, creating designated smoking areas instead. The army’s Kiriya headquarters in Tel Aviv are among those where smoking will be strictly prohibited.
The new orders, to go into force on Nov. 1, also proscribe smoking by commanders near their subordinate soldiers. A separate smoking area will be set up for military staff, and smoking in military vehicles also will be prohibited.
The military also will launch a campaign to raise awareness of the damage caused by smoking, and smoking cessation groups will be opened and led by the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps. Soldiers who enter the army already hooked on smoking will be identified and followed up with during their time in the military.
The new rules will be enforced through the army disciplinary code, and those in violation could be punished with a warning, detention or a more severe punishment.
In addition, cigarettes will not be accepted as donations for soldiers.
The new rules come after new army data showed that some 25 percent of male soldiers and 15 percent of female soldiers are smokers, and over 80 percent of solders claim to have been exposed to smoking in the military.