Knesset Panel Approves Higher Fines for Public Smokers

Smokers in public areas and business owners who would allow customers to smoke could face fines of thousands of NIS.

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee decided Monday morning to levy amended fines on smokers and business owners who would allow customers to smoke on the premises.

Business owners could now face fines of up to NIS 5,000 and people who smoke in no-smoking areas NIS 1,000.

The Knesset approved increased fines as part of a revised smoking ban in July, but these could not be imposed for lack of a clear reinforcement policy. The new regulations are due to take effect in the next few days.

The bill, submitted by MKs Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Yoel Hasson (Kadima), stipulates that local councils must provide services for filing complaints, either by telephone or on their Web site, 24 hours a day.

Up until now, the penalties imposed on smokers in public places were considerably lighter. People who smoked in a no-smoking area were liable to a NIS 310 fine, and business owners who failed to put up a noticeable no-smoking sign to a NIS 630 fine only.

Erdan said the revised bill does not alter the remit of the smoking ban, only improves reinforcement.