The beginning of this year opened up a new hunting season, hunting smokers! According to Haaretz smokers beware! They’re out to get you! “It seems that no law has ever been enforced in Israel with such speed and efficiency. An army of municipal inspectors invaded cafes and bars, as did dozens of activists and volunteers acting independently, filing suits in court against smokers.”
This comes after an amendment was added to the law banning smoking in public places; fines went up, and the ban was expanded to include bars, cafes and restaurants. The author of the Haaretz editorial complained that the law is being enforced too harshly and that the ban including out-door gardens in restaurants is exaggerated. While I can understand the author’s frustration I have to say that I completely disagree. I do agree, however, that it would be nice to create some solution for the smokers.
The ban including gardens is wise. Smokers tend not to notice quite how far the smoke they emit can go. Just because there is air movement in gardens does not mean that the smoke disperses before it affects others. Free smoking outside will not assure that the smoke does not affect others. Smokers may have rights, but, according to the basic social contract, smoking in others faces is not a viable right.
I can understand the shock of the author how harshly this law has been enforced. The truth is that it’s nice to see the law actually enforced. It’s frustrating when you feel like you cannot breath and some obnoxious person refuses to acknowledge your complaint and inevitably the manager does not have enough backbone to enforce his own rules. In my opinion it’s a basic decency to have this law enforced.
The next social law infraction to conquer, here in Israel, should be standing in lines.