JERUSALEM (JTA) – Juul rapid international expansion reached a speed bump on Tuesday when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned the Silicon Valley e-cigarettes at the request of local health officials.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Health quoted by The Times of Israel, the popular e-cigs contain significantly more nicotine than competing brands and they constitute a serious public health hazard.
Juul has become the US market dominate, accounting for more than half of the domestic sales of e-cigarettes, Bloomberg reported. The devices have proved to be particularly popular with teenagers, raising concerns that the product, whose sleek USB-stick-inspired look reveals borrowed design elements from Apple, will increase the number of smokers among young people.
In a statement reported by The New York Post, Juul Labs said it was "incredibly disappointed" by Netyanyahu's "deceived" decision, adding that it intended to ban the ban to give Israelis "a real alternative to flammable cigarettes ".
The device itself debuted here in May, selling for $ 32, with packs of four fillings costing just under $ 20.
According to an official report from the Israeli government, the sale of tobacco for water pipes increased by 28 percent between 2016 and 2017. In the same period, sales of loose tobacco rose by 9.3 percent. The World Health Organization reports that 25.4 percent of Israelis are 15 and older smoking tobacco; the global average is 21.9 percent.
Tobacco use is particularly common in the Israeli army. According to a survey from 2017, 36.5 percent of Israelis smoke after being fired from the army compared to 26.2 percent before being summoned.
An analysis from 2009 showed that smoking percentages among Jewish men and women were 27.9 percent and 16.6 percent, respectively. Among the Arabs, the corresponding percentages were 48.8 percent and 5.2 percent. An article from 2017 reported similar findings.