From April of next year, Israelis traveling abroad will only be able to buy one carton of cigarettes at duty-free shops instead of the current two cartons, the Knesset Finance Committee decided yesterday. The committee also approved a gradual hike in taxes on pipe tobacco and other tobacco products.

The decision represented a compromise after the Israel Airports Authority, which feared the loss of revenue over the limits on duty-free cigarette sales, sought to have the stricter limits imposed in October of next year, when the lease with the duty-free airport retailer James Richardson ends, while the Treasury had favored having the limit imposed in January of next year.

Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) supported the April compromise, saying it was preferable to raise taxes on cigarettes than gasoline and that the government was facing the prospect of a major budget deficit.