IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot has approved new measures to combat smoking in the military after new data revealed smoking during army service rose by 40 percent.
Among the measures, which will come into effect in November, are the banning of cigarette sales in 56 bases—including the large Kirya and Tel Hashomer bases in Tel Aviv—a prohibition on smoking in public areas in the bases and a prohibition on commanders smoking near their soldiers.
Smoking areas in bases will also be limited, well-defined and minimised, while it will be prohibited anywhere else.
Tobacco companies will be forbidden to “adopt” army units and cigarettes will no longer be accepted as donations for soldiers. Smoking will be prohibited in “brown” training or operational vehicles, and later on possibly in “white” company cars as well.
The IDF also announced its intention to medically monitor smoking, with every new conscript asked whether they smoke in the induction centre.
A new article in the army disciplinary code will enable the enforcement of these new protocols, and a soldier caught smoking will face disciplinary action and punished with a warning, detention or possibly more severe measures, based on the circumstances.
The army will also ramp up preventative measures to combat the phenomenon. For instance, every soldier, either a conscript or career soldier, will be able to partake in smoking rehab activities such as support groups. Anti-smoking instruction videos and classes will be given to soldiers in basic training and command courses, and extensive signage against smoking will be posted in bases.
Following prolonged administrative review, the army’s Manpower Directorate decided to adopt recommendations made by the Medical Corps to significantly curtail smoking in the army, citing data showing the prevalence of smoking during army service rose by 40 percent, while more than 80 percent of soldiers reported being exposed to smoking during their service.