There are no indications in the public record of the existence of committees or official meetings in government ministries to which representatives of tobacco and smoking companies are invited.
In 2018, Philip Morris’s legal representative proposed the exclusion of e-mail from the blanket ban on advertising. The proposal was accepted and approved by the members of Knesset, provided the email recipients are 21 and older and gave their prior written consent.
Moreover, the cigar importers’ proposal to exclude cigars from plain packaging and emissions reporting requirements was also accepted.
No such incidents have been identified for the 2017-2019 period by the government or its agencies or officials.
The Health Ministry’s initial treatment of heated tobacco products, specifically Philip Morris’s IQOS, and their exclusion from the Law Limiting the Advertising and Marketing of Tobacco Products, included preferential treatment of one smoking product over others, as noted in petition HCJ 2269/17 submitted by the Dubek Co. to the Supreme Court against the Minister of Health.
Following an order on the taxation of rolling tobacco signed in February 2019, which limits the size of the packs to 30-50 grams, an application came through for an extension of the deadline for using up inventory in the original packaging from February 2019 to January 2020. The extension was approved.
Throughout 2018, as part of the regulatory process relating to e-cigarettes, JUUL publicized details of actions it took to prevent the sale of its products to minors in a range of media channels and even offered to help the Ministry of Health with this issue. The Ministry of Health declined these offers.
In January 2017, following an investigation that revealed the arrangement of meetings with the Minister of Health and senior Ministry officials in exchange for payments, a new chapter dedicated to reporting meetings with tobacco and smoking industry representatives was added.
At the same time, in preparation for a decision on the taxation of heated tobacco products, the economist Arthur Laffer arrived in Israel on behalf of Philip Morris in May 2017, and met with the Director General of the Ministry of Finance. The very existence of this meeting was only revealed in retrospect, in the media.
The requirement to report meetings with the tobacco industry is limited only to the Ministry of Health and does not apply to other government agencies. There is also no registry of tobacco industry entities, their affiliate organizations or representatives such as lawyers acting on their behalf.
No such incidents were identified for the 2017-2019 period. However, there is the phenomenon of parliamentary advisers and assistants transitioning to positions in tobacco companies, sometimes without a “cooling off period” after holding a position in government.
There are no indications in the public record that a Knesset member is restricted from receiving a draft bill from tobacco and smoking companies.
In November 2018, the Ministry of Health published the “Rules for commercial-related engagements by health institutions: Director General’s circular 11/2018,” which regulates the issue in general, without specific reference to tobacco and smoking companies.
- The requirement to report meetings with the tobacco and nicotine industry, currently limited to the Ministry of Health, must be extended to apply to the whole government.
- A registry of tobacco and nicotine industry entities, their affiliate organizations and representatives must be established.
- Since there are instances of former government officials moving to the tobacco and nicotine industry, a policy must be put in place which provides a cooling period of at least three years.
- Rules for commercial-related engagement by health institutions should be extended to apply to the whole government to prevent the tobacco and nicotine industry from approaching non-health sectors.
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