Israel to ban flavored e-cigarettes?

Dep. Health Minister promises: 'I'll work to ban flavored cigarettes - after the elections.' Drs: 'No reason to insist on harming youth.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Youth smokes an electronic cigarette
Youth smokes an electronic cigarette

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) has announced that beginning immediately after the elections, he will work to ban flavored electronic cigarettes, Israel Hayom reported.

"We have limited the concentration of nicotine and expanded all the laws regarding smoking products to include electronic cigarettes," Litzman said. "Now we must continue our efforts on the issue and ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes. I congratulate the FDA for the important and brave steps they have taken."

The bill to ban the advertisement of smoking products included a section on banning marketing flavored electronic cigarettes, Israel Hayom noted.

At the time, Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov said: "I beg you to approve this now. If we have to re-legislate this we will lose an entire generation of youth who will be exposed to flavored cigarettes and experiement with smoking." However, the section was removed from the law at the last minute, due to pressure from various Knesset members.

The Israel Medical Association noted: "It is imperative to pass legislation which bans the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes in Israel, in order to prevent the younger generation of Israelis from becoming addicted to nicotine via electronic cigarettes. The American Food and Drug Administration is currently working to implement a similar ban, due to the worrying 78% increase in the number of high school students who report using electronic cigarettes. Similar regulations exist in England, Canada, and other countries.".

Professor Shai Ashkenazi and Dr. Tzachi Grossman, who head the Israel Pediatric Association, called on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Health Minister, to ban the products: "Please instruct that similar steps be taken in Israel, following the brave and crucial step taken by the administration. There is no reason for Israel to insist on harming the health of its youth. This is a necessary step, especially due to the growing amount of evidence of the serious dangers of smoking electronic cigarettes, for youth and adults alike."

International studies have shown that 80% of youth say flavored e-cigarettes were the first smoking product they purchased.

Studies show that one out of every five Israeli teens has experimented with electronic cigarettes. In the US, the use of electronic cigarettes, also know as "vaping," has caused at least six deaths and 450 cases of mysterious lung illness.

Litzman's announcement follows a similar promise by the Trump administration. In a Wednesday statement, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said: "The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities. We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth."