At a press conference held today by the Ministry of Health marking World No Tobacco Day on 31 May 2012, it was reported that smoking rates in Israel have declined.
Adults age 21 and older:
The smoking rate among Israeli adults aged 21 and over stands at 20.6%, according to the KAP 2010 survey (knowledge, attitudes and behavior), conducted from 2010-2012. The smoking rate has dropped to the lowest level ever recorded in Israel.
27.1% of Israeli men smoke and 14.4% of Israeli women smoke.
The smoking rate among the Jewish population stands at 19.7%, and the weighted smoking prevalence among the Arab population stands at 25.2%.
The smoking rates stand at 23.7% among Jewish men, 15.9% among Jewish women, 43.8% among Arab men and 6.7% among Arab women.
The percentage of students who have tried smoking has steadily declined since 1998, both in gender-based and sector-based distribution (the statistics on adolescent smoking are based on the findings from the Israel-based Health Behavior in School-age Children Study 2011, HBSC).
The percentage of students who reported that they smoke cigarettes or tobacco products at least once a day emerged to be on the decline among Jewish teenage girls, whereas a slight increase emerged among Jewish teenage boys, Arab teenage boys and among Arab teenage girls.
In terms of the percentage of students who have ever tried smoking tobacco from a hookah, a decline emerged among both genders and both sectors.
The smoking rate among soldiers recruited to the IDF in 2011 stood at 29.8% and the smoking rate among soldiers discharged from the IDF in 2011 stood at 37.0%.
The smoking rate among female new recruits in 2011 stood at 24.2% and among female discharged soldiers that same year, the smoking rate stood at 30.0%.
In 2011, the percentage of new smokers stood at 6.0% of the total number of discharged soldiers, whereas the percentage of female discharged soldiers who started smoking during their military service stood at 5.9% of the total number of discharged female soldiers.
Discharged male soldiers who identified as smokers consumed 13.3 cigarettes a day on average. The average daily cigarette consumption during this specific year among female discharged soldiers who identified as smokers stood at 10.4 cigarettes a day.
The median age at first cigarette use among male new recruits in 2011 is similar to that of female new recruits in the same year; the ages are 15.5 and 15.6 years respectively.
In 2011, the median age at first cigarette use among discharged male soldiers who identified as smokers was 16.4, and the median age among discharged female soldiers who identified as smokers was 16.1.
Enforcement of the provisions of the smoking ban:
The Tel Aviv Municipality is the leading city in Israel in the enforcement of the provisions of the smoking ban, with 2,501 fines imposed in 2011 on smokers and business owners who contravened the law.
In 2010, 11,844 smokers registered for smoking cessation programs at HMOs, in 2011, the number of smokers who registered for smoking cessation programs at HMOs steadily rose, reaching 19,646.
Cigarette companies' advertising expenditures:
There has been a sharp rise in the investment in internet advertising and interactive games, using Facebook social network applications, whereby the cigarette industry exploits the loopholes in current legislation prohibiting tobacco promotion, to use an accessible, widespread, inexpensive and readily available means to convey focused messages targeting young people.