The Health Ministry announced Monday that it intends to ban the marketing and distribution of electronic cigarettes.
In issuing the ruling, the ministry said that 10 percent of high school students who use e-cigarettes had never smoked regular cigarettes before, showing that e-cigarettes have the potential to be a gateway to “the world of smoking,” according to Israel daily Yedioth Ahronoth.
As e-cigarettes have become more popular over the years, public health officials throughout the world, including the US Food and Drug Administration, have been fighting public perception that the devices are less harmful than regular cigarettes and can contribute to giving them up. While there is no consensus as to the long-term health impact of e-cigarettes or whether they help people quit, a number of countries have already banned them, including Canada, Russia, Hong Kong, Brazil, and Norway, among others.
The ministry’s Professor Itamar Grotto wrote in the resolution that “the electronic cigarette and its products are a serious risk to public health.”
E-cigarettes typically consist of a metal device resembling a cigarette on the outside and a heating device that vaporizes a liquid solution in the filter that typically consists of nicotine and flavoring.
According to the Health Ministry, as well as other experts, e-cigarettes contain more nicotine than regular cigarettes and emit more concentrated doses. They also contain dangerous chemicals such as propylene glycol, which can cause breathing problems and asthma, diethylene glycol, which can damage the kidneys, fertility and nervous system; and various carcinogens.
The Health Ministry will accept responses until April 26, and the regulations banning the production, marketing or storage for the purpose of selling e-cigarettes or any related products would only go into effect six months after final publication.