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MK vows to go on hunger strike until tax on loose tobacco is raised

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Likud MK Yehuda Glick introduced Monday that he would start a hunger strike until the finance minister raised the tax on loose tobacco to match that of cigarettes.

“Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon takes our children hostage for political reasons,” Glick mentioned in a speech from the Knesset podium, with out elaborating on Kahlon’s alleged motivations

“Who will stand up for the 3,000 people who died this year from smoking?” Glick requested? “World health organizations ask Israel to raise the tax on loose tobacco,” however the finance minister has ignored their requests.”

Glick, who has lengthy advocated in opposition to smoking, listed a number of Knesset committees, which have known as for the tax on loose tobacco to be raised, however Glick mentioned Kahlon had systematically rejected their suggestions.

“Children in 8th and 9th grade buy tobacco instead of Bamba,” Glick mentioned, referring to a standard snack.

He then dramatically introduced that he would cease consuming until the tax had been raised.

“Since the Torah I believe in gives precedence to human life over everything else, and I can no longer stand by and do nothing,” Glick mentioned. “So I will begin an open-ended hunger strike from tomorrow.”

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon speaks throughout a ceremony in southern Israel, April 12, 2018. (Flash90)

The tax on cigarettes is greater than thrice larger than the tax on loose tobacco.

The foremost function of the excessive tax on tobacco is to maintain folks away from smoking. While cigarette smoking has declined over the previous few years, the quantity of loose tobacco bought has elevated dramatically.

Last month, the Knesset introduced a main crackdown on cigarette smoking, banning the follow from many public areas together with hospitals, justice courts, live shows and parking tons, together with inside ten meters from the doorway to any such place.

Some 26 % of Israeli males smoke cigarettes, in accordance to a 2015 examine by the Health Ministry, barely above the European Union common of 24.2%. Among ladies, simply 13.6% of adults smoke cigarettes, a bit beneath the EU’s 15.5%.

A report final 12 months discovered that just about 40% of Israelis are people who smoke by the point they end their obligatory military service. That’s twice as excessive as the general nationwide fee and dramatically larger than amongst US troopers, in accordance to a examine within the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. The examine discovered no important change through the years in what number of troopers had been people who smoke when recruited or discharged.

JTA contributed to this report.

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