The government of Israel has banned sales and import of JUUL, citing its high nicotine as a health danger. The San Francisco-based vape has been sold in Israel since earlier this year. The ban will take effect on Sept. 3.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed the order Monday. Netanyahu is also the health minister. Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman requested the order, according to the Times of Israel.
The American JUUL product is sold in 59 mg/mL and 33 mg/mL. The edict from the Health Ministry prohibits JUUL from selling products with a nicotine concentration higher than 20 mg/mL. That apparently leaves the door open for JUUL Labs to sell its U.K. version, which — because of restrictions imposed by the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) — has exactly that level of nicotine. JUUL began selling its popular e-cigarette in the U.K. last month.
It is unclear if the order only prohibits JUUL sales, and not other brands. Earlier this month, Israeli news site Haaretz reported that the Health Ministry intended to ban all vapes with a nicotine concentration above 20 mg/mL. A statement from the Health Ministry said that JUUL is a “a grave risk to public health,” according to Reuters. The Health Ministry is apparently banning JUUL based on that vague risk.
Israel has no codified regulations or laws restricting vapor products, according to a June Haaretz article. In fact, the country doesn’t even have age restrictions, although JUUL insists retailers sell only to those 18 and over.
JUUL Labs, through its Israeli lawyer, has threatened legal action against the government. Attorney Joseph Ashkenazi told the government in June that a ban would be illegal, and suggested the JUUL Labs might sue the government.