Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association
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Israel media outlet Globes reported that the Supreme Court "approved the import of electronic cigarettes". At the time of writing, we have been unable to access the Court's documents directly. However, courtesy of Google translate (our Hebrew not being quite up to scratch!), we are told by Globes that the panel of three judges "unanimously accepted the petition filed by Ai.sig Inc., [...] asking to import and market electronic cigarettes in Israel." In April 2012, the Israeli Ministry of health had rejected the company's request to import and market ecigarettes, demanding their registration as medicinal products.
One of the judges, "spared no criticism of the state":
"The Health Ministry's decision was given without authority, and therefore it is nullified."
This case sets a precedent for other importers and marketers of electronic cigarettes, and perhaps this will provide competition in Israel for regular tobacco cigarettes.
Globes goes on to elucidate further:
"The main argument of Ai.sig is that the Health Ministry's decision was given without authority and is disproportionate."
Ai.sig pointed out that medical registration "does not apply to products that are not used for medical purposes, such as electronic cigarettes and related products to them; they are consumer products." The company further argued that nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes are not designed for medical use, and therefore the Ministry of Health does not have the authority to prohibit or restrict their importation and marketing.
Ai.sig stressed that tobacco cigarettes are not regulated as medicines.
The Health Ministry claimed that it had authority to regulate electronic cigarettes as medicines by arguing that nicotine is a "medical poison", and that they therefore have the authority to restrict the use of such products, even if not strictly for medical purposes. The Ministry of Health also emphatically argued that they intended to introduce legislation prohibiting the importation and marketing of electronic cigarettes, and that a memorandum of law on the subject had been circulated even before this case was heard.
Supreme Court Judge Mazuz decided:
"The conclusion from everything listed is that the respondents' decision to ban the importation of electronic cigarettes was made without authority."
He stated emphatically that the administrative authority draws its authority from the law, and cannot decide to prohibit the marketing of electronic cigarettes because the administrative authority believes that it is a medical poison.
"In this case, as mentioned, there is no statutory authorisation, and certainly no express authorisation, for the respondents to seek to impose a prohibition on the importation of electronic cigarettes."
Supreme Court Judge Mazuz also held that "the action of an administrative body that was made without authority is invalid and therefore nullifed. Therefore, there is no other conclusion than to overrule the respondents' decision."
Google translation: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&...
Original report in Hebrew: http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1000990968#fromelement=hp_...
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