Israel - slight decline in the number of Israelis who smoke..

June 5, 2010 - A new report, commissioned by the deputy health minister, shows that 22.8% of Israel’s adult population currently smokes, compared to 24.2% last year. The study also found that 31.3% of men smoke, while 14.8% of women do.

More specific to Jews, the report also found that 27.9% of Jewish men smoke, while 16.6% of Jewish women smoke. Last year, the percentage of Jewish women who smoked was higher, at 18.7%.

"Only constant monitoring of these trends can tell us whether this drop continues," said Professor Tami Shochat, the head of the Health Ministry's Center for Disease Control, the institution that wrote the report. The findings have been derived from a two-year poll conducted by the Center for Disease Control among 4,186 participants.

Regarding the Arab population, 48.8% of men smoke, while only 5.2% of women do. These numbers are similar to figures found in previous years. The percentage of what the report considers heavy smokers is highest among Arab male smokers, where 31.8% consume more than 20 cigarettes per day. Among Jews, 12.8% of male smokers and 10.9% of women smokers smoke at least one pack a day.

The study also cites two polls of 20,000 youths. The report found 5% of Jewish eighth-graders smoke occasionally, and 1.6% smoke every day. Among Arabs, 2.9% of eighth graders reported smoking occasionally, while 1.1% admitted to smoking every day.

Reference; Study: Fewer Israelis smoking, Bev Spritzer,, 6/4/2010.

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