2017-02-01 / Mideast

Israeli army has a problem

Nearly 40 percent of Israelis are smokers by the time they finish their compulsory army service, according to a new study.

That is twice as high as the overall national rate and dramatically higher than among American soldiers, according to the study published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Haifa conducted the study in cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces’ Medical Corps. Data came from nearly 30,000 soldiers between 1987 and 2011.

“We should take an example from the United States, which conducted extensive changes to the smoking policy in its military to protect its soldiers and to improve the readiness and performance of its combat units.”

Army service is mandatory for most Israeli Jews and a central part of the national identity. Smoking cigarettes to cope with the boredom and stress is a well-known part of the experience. (JTA)

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