Israel's military condemned over cigarettes handout
- By: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have been condemned for distributing free cigarettes to sol- diers assigned to protect Jewish settlements during the current Palestinian uprising. The distribution violates a 1983 law that bars “anyone from giving away tobacco products without payment.” Health minister Ronni Milo sent a letter to the IDF chief of staff, General Shaul Mofaz, asking him to “reconsider the decision” to hand out cigarettes to soldiers. Mr Milo pointed out that 10 000 Israelis died each year of diseases directly connected to smoking and that the health authorities put much effort into health education against smoking. “I'm afraid that the IDF's decision is liable to seriously harm this effort,” he wrote.
Mr Milo said he was aware of tension among combat soldiers, who have suffered losses almost daily during the past seven weeks, but thought there were more healthy ways to reduce it.
The IDF's chief medical