JUUL e-cigarette company files petition to High Court objecting to ban

The Israeli branch of electronic cigarette company Juul has sent a petition to the High Court of Justice contesting the government’s recent decision to in Israel.

A Juul is a rectangular e-cigarette that uses flavored liquid nicotine fillers; they started being sold in Israel in March. The order banning Juul was signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and will go into effect at the beginning of September.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said that “the decision to ban the import and sales of the product (JUUL) containing more than 20 milligrams per milliliter of nicotine was made because it posed serious danger to public health.”

The petition filed by the company asked for an interim injunction to the order, saying that the order selectively targets them and not competitors who make similar products, that the ministry acted to quickly halt Juul sales by violating the company’s business rights, and that Juul was unfairly targeted by the ministry for months before the decision and that the decision was thus rigged.

It also claimed the petitioners heard about the ministry’s decision through the news, not directly.

“There is no need to elaborate on the extent of the damage that has already been caused and will be caused to the petitioners. If this petition is not accepted, the conclusion will be that the Authority [Ministry of Health] is above the law,” the petition said.

The petition, submitted by law firm Eitan Haezrachy & Co., is more than 60 pages long and specifically indicates the Health Minister Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and the ministry itself as its respondents.

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In a statement released alongside the petition, Juul Israel accused the Health Ministry of “implementing selective enforcement through hidden agenda[s] and strengthening the status of the tobacco companies at the expense of an alternative designed to save millions of smokers the cancerous influence of consuming tobacco.”

Juul Israel CEO Assaf Snir told The Jerusalem Post by email that he believes “JUUL will be sold in Israel – whether sooner or later.”

Snir emphasized the petition cites opinions on Juul and e-cigarette smoking from Professors Moti Ravid and Yehuda Adler of Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, who found that Juul-like devices do not have the same risks as cigarettes regarding cancerous substances.

“So far, the opinion of Professors Ravid and Adler has not been contradicted by the Ministry of Health,” he said.

When asked if the company has taken specific actions to prevent the marketing or sale of the devices to minors, which has been a controversy surrounding Juul worldwide, he said that purchases on the Juul website require multiple forms of age verification and the company has taken steps to make sure they are not sold to minors in stores.

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