Health Ministry to ban sale of electronic cigarettes?

Health Ministry Director-General examines option to ban or limit sale of e-cigarettes - without passing a new law.

Chana Roberts ,

Electronic cigarette
Electronic cigarette

Israel's Health Ministry may completely ban the sale of electronic cigarettes in Israel, Ynet reported.

In a meeting, Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov ordered his office to examine whether Israel has the means of issuing such a ban or other measure of limiting electronic cigarettes, especially flavored varieties.

Such a measure would be temporary, intended to serve as a stopgap solution until legislation on the issue is completed.

"I call on the public not to wait for orders and legislation, and to simply avoid consumption of products which harm health, such as the various types of cigarettes, and not to be seduced by unfounded promises that electronic cigarettes are less harmful," Ynet quoted Bar Siman Tov as saying.

"Unfortunately we are witness to real danger to the public health due to the increased usage of such products around the world. The recent wave of illness and deaths in the US should serve as a warning for all health authorities in the world to take severe measures against these [products]."

Earlier this month, Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) promised to work to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

A law passed in December 2018 limits the advertising of e-cigarettes, mandates uniform packaging and warnings on electronic cigarettes, bans selling them to minors and displaying them in storefronts. These laws, however, only go into effect in January 2020.

The law also includes limits on the amount of nicotine electronic cigarette refills can contain.

The Forum for Vaping Manufacturers and Importers said: "In Israel, 24 people die every day due to regular cigarettes. Health organizations around the world encourage adult smokers to switch to vaping electronic cigarettes - which do not burn and do not have tobacco - as a less harmful option for them. The surprising call to end sales of electronic cigarettes, while regular cigarettes continue being sold, will perpetuate smoking for Israel's million adult smokers."