After sales of the standard five percent-nicotine JUUL were banned by the government of Israel, the popular American vape will be sold there in a reduced-nicotine version. The Israeli Health Ministry claims the high-nicotine JUUL is a threat to public health.
JUUL Labs is challenging the government’s decision in court. On Aug. 25, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected JUUL Labs’ request for a temporary injunction to prevent the ban from being implemented. While the lawsuit is being heard, the California-based company will continue sales in Israel using the lower-nicotine JUUL version sold in the U.K.
JUUL Labs’ challenge to the ban claims that the government action creates a double standard, because tobacco companies are allowed to sell their vapor products, while JUUL is prohibited.
“It is not possible to accept the conduct of a regulator working in the dark, with a hidden agenda and strengthening the status of the tobacco companies at the expense of an alternative designed to save millions of smokers the cancerous influence of consuming tobacco,” JUUL Labs stated, according to the Times of Israel.
The accusation of “strengthening the status of the tobacco companies” appears aimed at Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who ordered the ban. Litzman has previously been accused of favoring the interests of the tobacco industry, including opposing warning labels on cigarettes.
Israel has no written regulations or laws on e-cigarettes. And although JUUL Labs insists that retailers not sell JUUL to minors, the country actually has no age restriction on sales either.
JUUL Labs has already replaced all JUUL devices and pods in Israeli stores with the same lower-nicotine version sold in the U.K., according to Israeli tech site CTech. The ban on the high-nic version went into effect Sept. 3.
The British JUUL is 1.7 percent nicotine by weight (20 mg/mL), because the U.K. operates under the rules of the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which caps nicotine content at 20 mg/mL. JUUL Labs is also launching JUUL sales in Canada this month, with the original five percent (59 mg/mL) JUUL pods.