I have never smoked, with the exception of some three of four forbidden cigarettes at the school yard, tucked away and without much pleasure. Once I was even summoned to the principal’s office in order to find out whether I smoked during the break.
Yet despite this, I strongly oppose the legislative crusade against smokers here. Taking the cigarettes away from nervous Israelis in this conflict-ridden land is truly an edict that the public cannot withstand, and should have to withstand.
Indeed, smoking is unhealthy, and it often shortens one’s life. However, crossing the street around here isn’t too healthy either. The same is true for using a cell phone for hours. It’s unhealthy to serve in the army here and it’s dangerous to live here and raise children here.
Many things are more difficult, stressful and dangerous here than they are in quieter, more civilized regions of the world, yet nonetheless they are not banned.
So now we want to ban advertisements showing smokers? We want to ban smoking in open-air sites such as bus stops and train platforms? And above all, we want to set up a special unit that will combat smokers? A sort of elite force that will extinguish cigarettes and detain smokers?
The very thought of a special anti-smoker unit similar to the anti-migrant unit is already prompting within me, a chronic non-smoker, a furious desire for a cigarette. Why should we establish yet another unit that will enter homes and spy after smokers? And what is such unit supposed to do actually? Take away children from their smoking parents? Expel smokers to smoking colonies? Where are we heading?
If we truly want people to smoke less, we would do well to first dissolve this Knesset; never in our history had we experienced such an embarrassing term in office that saw such puzzling, odd and brutal laws being legislated. A Knesset that tries to tell you what not to think about and how you should look (the so-called “skinny model law.”) Now they are also deciding what we can do with our mouths outdoors.
Indeed, as result of paralysis, confusion, and loss of direction our legislative and executive branches head to undesirable directions that interfere in the lives of individuals and penetrate their homes and pockets.
So how about you try to reduce the intolerable tensions around here, cut taxes on the poor, supervise corporations that rob us, and maybe even – without speeches that are empty of substance – achieve co-existence with our neighbors? If you do that, lo and behold, you will see that people smoke less.
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