Rolling tobacco
Rolling tobacco iStock

The Knesset's Finance Committee on Monday approved an order to equate purchase tax on rolling tobacco to purchase tax on cigarettes.

Former Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Likud) had systematically refused to approve the move, claiming it constituted a "tax hike" and therefore went against what he stood for. However, in February 2019, he signed the order after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court.

The order was not approved by the Finance Committee within 60 days, however, due to the ongoing attempts to form a coalition.

Israel Hayom noted that findings from Smoke Free Israel presented to the Committee showed that raising the tax on rolling tobacco reduced its use by 50%, and the percentage of youth who used rolling tobacco for experimenting with smoking dropped from 31.9% to 22.7% after the tax was raised.

However, the site added that statistics from the Israel National Institute For Health Policy Research showed that the percentage of smokers dropped by just 1% between 2014-2019, indicating a rise in the total number of smokers. Tobacco companies also report stability, and that their sales have increased.

It is expected that the change in how rolling tobacco is taxed will bring in approximately 400-450 million shekels ($115,845,000-130,325,625) per year.