“Distortion” of passive smoking evidence provokes controversy in IsraelBMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7238.826/e (Published 25 March 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:826
- Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
Israel's respected daily newspaper in the Hebrew language, which markets itself as “the newspaper for thinking people,” has published a six page cover story in its magazine supplement dismissing the fact that passive smoking is dangerous to health and praising some of the so-called benefits of active smoking. The article in Ha'aretz, which was largely based on a misrepresentation and misinterpretation of an epidemiological meta-analysis by Copas and Shi in the BMJ (2000;320:417-8), has been roundly denounced by Israeli public health experts and by Israel's health minister, Shlomo Benizri.
As a result of the article, the health minister called on all Israeli print media, “especially Ha'aretz,” to stop accepting and publishing cigarette advertisements. Currently, the only Israeli publications to adopt such a policy on tobacco are Bamahaneh (the magazine of the Israel Defence Forces) and Yom LeYom (the weekly paper of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party).
Minister Benizri, a rabbi from the Shas party who—unlike many of his predecessors—adopted a policy aimed at reducing smoking, said that research had found a connection between the amount of tobacco advertising in each paper and the manner and …