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Israel stubs out flavored tobacco, mulls total ban of e-cigarettes

In response to US deaths linked to vaping, Health Ministry calls the smoking devices a ‘real danger to public health’

A high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
A high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

The Health Ministry on Tuesday said it was weighing a total ban on sales of e-cigarettes, following other countries that have sought to crack down on what has been described as a vaping epidemic.

The ministry said it was imposing an immediate ban on sales of flavored cartridges of oil used in the smoking devices. It was also considering imposing a blanket ban on sales via a temporary injunction, without waiting for the Knesset to pass new regulations.

The ministry’s move was in response to recent reports of deaths related to vaping and an explosion in use among US teens.

“I call on the public to not wait for new rules and regulations and simply stop using things that hurt their health,” said Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov. “Unfortunately we’re witnessing a real danger to the public health from the ever-increasing worldwide use of products of this type. The wave of deaths in the US should serve as a warning to all health authorities in the world to take these measures with the utmost severity.”

India banned sales of e-cigarettes this month and regulators in the United States and other countries are imposing controls following a surge in deaths and illnesses blamed on vaping.

On Tuesday morning, China said it would also place new restrictions on e-cigarettes.

Makers of e-cigarettes including Juul Labs Inc. have promoted them as being safer than standard cigarettes, but the US Food and Drug Administration says no vaping product has been reviewed and found to be less harmful than traditional tobacco products.

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