In Blow to Juul, Israel to Ban Some E-cigarettes

Order expected to be published next week, but challenged in court by the U.S. company

A person smokes a Juul Labs Inc. e-cigarette in this arranged photograph taken on Sunday July 8, 2018.
Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

The Health Ministry is set to ban the sale of nicotine-rich electronic cigarettes like the popular Juul product, under an order expected to be published by the end of next week, TheMarker has learned.

An official said the decision to ban e-cigarettes with nicotine content in excess of 20 milligrams for every milliliter liquid was taken last Thursday without any notice to the public. It came after a hearing in July, in which Juul fought hard to prevent the ban

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Until now Israel has been the only other country outside the United States where Juul could freely market its trendy e-cigarette, which looks like a USB and comes in flavors like mango and crème brulee, designed to appeal to the young.

But Juul has 59 milligrams of nicotine for every milliliter of liquid, way above the range of six to 30 for other e-cigarettes. Europe has already set a 20-milligram ceiling, as Israel is doing now, so that when Juul introduced its product in Britain several weeks ago, it was the reduced-nicotine version.

Juul’s claim is that the nicotine levels in its product are no higher than for ordinary cigarettes and are less damaging to health. Sources said they expected the company to appeal the Health Ministry ban after it is officially published. In a statement it accused the ministry of “illegally” banning Juul’s operations in Israel.