Supreme Court to equalize tax for cigarettes and rolling tobacco

Judges order Finance Minister to immediately impose equal purchase tax on rolling tobacco and ordinary cigarettes.

Mordechai Sones,

Tobacco tax
Tobacco tax
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The Supreme Court today ordered Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to exercise his authority under the Purchase Tax Law and immediately impose equal purchase taxes on rolling tobacco products and ordinary cigarettes.

The judges, Dafna Barak-Erez, George Kra, and Alex Stein issued the sentence following a petition by the Multi-Sectoral Initiative for the Elimination of Smoking and the Israel Cancer Association.

"In accordance with the position of professionals in the Health Ministry, rolled cigarettes and ready-made cigarettes are the same functional product, and whatever the position of the ministers regarding the appropriate tax rate in relation to them, the distinction between these products is aimed at directing behaviors that have an impact on health, and cannot be determined without any reason," Justice Barak-Erez noted in the ruling.

"Against this backdrop, and taking into account the professional position of the Health Ministry, that the health risks involved in smoking ordinary cigarettes and self-rolled cigarettes are essentially identical, there is no substantive justification for distinguishing between them for the purposes of the tax arrangement."

All along the way, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon objected to raising the tax rate for rolling tobacco, contrary to the professional position of the Health Ministry on the matter, due to his opposition in principle to raising taxes.

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