The streets of Bnei Brak have been plastered in recent days with posters distributed by the municipality ahead of the Purim holiday. These aren't invitations to a Purim play or a festive holiday ball, but a campaign aimed at young adults not to smoke during the holiday's festivities.
The campaign, which goes by the title "Israel's great scholars against smoking," is meant to prevent young haredim from starting to smoke in the spirit of the holiday's gaieties, a turning point behavior that could turn from a one-time event into a fixed and addictive habit.
"On Purim, young people think it's possible to have fun and smoke under the guise of merrymaking," explained municipal secretariat and spokesman, Avraham Tannenbaum. "Because of the joy of the holiday, they allow themselves to smoke and are not aware that one cigarette will likely beget more smoking after it until great difficulties are encountered trying to quit."
Tannenbaum explained that a halachic ruling was recently issued on the matter following scientific research that proved the damage incurred by smoking. "It is written 'you preserved your souls,' so smoking damages body and soul and, therefore, is against the Torah."
The campaign is being run by the municipal education department. Hundreds of notices, pamphlets, and fliers will be distributed as part of the effort.