Israel is imposing a total ban on the popular Juul electronic cigarettes because they contain almost three times the recommended limit of nicotine.

Import and sale of the Silicon Valley startup’s products are being banned, according to a Ministry of Health statement, because they pose “a grave risk to public health.”

The e-cigarette contains 59 milligrams of nicotine for every milliliter of liquid, almost three times the recommended limit of 20 mg./ml. In May, Haaretz reported that they could be purchased in about 30 locations throughout the country.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the post of health minister, signed the order on Monday; the ban goes into effect on September 3.

The Israeli move was consistent with similar restrictions in Europe, the ministry’s statement said. The e-cigarette has been banned in Europe, but is rising in popularity in the United States.

Since launching in 2015, the flash drive-sized vaping device has transformed the US market, where it now accounts for nearly 70% of tracked e-cigarette sales. The company is valued at $15 billion based on its most recent funding round.

In a statement on Tuesday, Juul Labs Inc. said it was “incredibly disappointed” with what it called a “misguided” decision by the Israeli government. The San Francisco company said it planned to appeal the ban, adding that its devices provide smokers with “a true alternative to combustible cigarettes.”

Juul says it targets adult smokers, but it has faced scrutiny over the popularity of its products with teenagers.
In April, the US Food and Drug Administration launched a crackdown on the sale of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to minors, particularly those developed by Juul Labs.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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