Vaping. (Shutterstock) Shutterstock
Vaping (Shutterstock)

Israel’s Ministry of Health banned flavored liquid nicotine for electronic cigarettes as part of an effort to eliminate use of the product completely.

By United With Israel Staff

On Tuesday, Israel’s Ministry of Health imposed an immediate ban on the sale of flavored oil used in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and is seeking other ways to get rid of the the product completely. This follows an exponential rise in illness and even death reported in those who “vape” e-cigarettes in the United States.

“I call on the public not to wait for new rules and regulations, but simply to stop using things that hurt their health,” Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov said at a meeting. “Unfortunately we’re witnessing a real danger to the public health from the ever-increasing worldwide use of products of this type.”

Bar Siman Tov pointed out that vaper deaths in the United States “should serve as a warning to all health authorities in the world to take these measures with the utmost severity.”

Thus far, in the United States, lung diseases related to vaping have sickened at least 530 people and killed at least nine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains that e-cigarettes have not been reviewed for health and safety and therefore, have not been proven to be less harmful than traditional tobacco products.

The Ministry of Health’s website notes that there is no difference between e-cigarettes and standard cigarettes in terms of health and nicotine addiction.

“E-cigarettes are smoking products in the full sense of the word,” reports the website. “E-cigarettes work by vaping liquid and not tobacco combustion like the regular cigarettes.”

The website also claims that the “biggest detriment” of e-cigarettes is that their nicotine content is the same as standard cigarettes and therefore, does not help individuals to quit smoking, as assumed. One is “actually replacing one addiction with another, since [vapers] don’t stop consuming nicotine.”

According to the Health Ministry, “teenagers’ early exposure to nicotine is even worse since during puberty the brain is particularly susceptible and so nicotine can cause addiction, attention deficit disorder and mood disorders (such as depression). Beyond the effect it has on the brain, nicotine affects additional bodily processes such as blood pressure and pulse. All these can turn into long-term effects.”

In 2018, the Knesset passed legislation that expanded restrictions on smoking standard cigarettes in public places. Those restrictions now include e-cigarettes as well.

The law also limits the amount of nicotine e-cigarette refills can contain, regulates e-cigarette advertising, requires uniform packaging and warnings, and bans selling e-cigarettes to minors or displaying them in storefronts. However, these laws only go into effect in January 2020.

Approximately 8,000 Israelis die each year from cigarette related illness.