The IQOS campaign in Israel
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Tel Aviv University, Israel
CEO, The National Initiative to Eradicate Smoking, Israel
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A732
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Israel was once a pioneer in tobacco control. The first advertising restrictions were legislated in 1983; these included bans on advertisement on radio and television. Israel signed the FCTC in 2003 and ratified it in 2005. Words, symbols, or colors indicating harm reduction were banned in 2004. A comprehensive ban on advertising to children was passed in 2006. In 2011, the Israeli government passed a National Plan for the Reduction of Tobacco Use and Harm which included a total advertising ban. However, the plan required further legislation, and this was blocked in the Knesset. Evidence of tobacco industry lobbying against the advertising bill was recently published by Reuters on the basis of the Philip Morris Files. Following meetings between Philip Morris (PM) executives and high-level governmental officials in 2016, IQOS entered Israel as a non-tobacco product in December, 2016. An aggressive advertising campaign followed entitled "Smoke-Free Israel", first on internet/social media (Facebook) and then as full page and large advertisements in the print press.

Intervention or response:
Two petitions to the Supreme Court - one from the Israeli tobacco company, Dubek, and one from the NGO Advanced Democracy - led the Supreme Court to intervene. IQOS was redefined as a tobacco product, and covered by existing advertising legislation beginning 4/4/2017. Advertising continued unabated.

Results and lessons learnt:
Legal loopholes, particularly regarding social media, and partial marketing restrictions may allow for the uncontrolled advertisement of new tobacco, smoking, and nicotine products to adults and youth.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
The world of advertising, sponsorship, and promotion has changed dramatically in recent years. Countries must carefully review and expand legislation to include new tobacco, smoking, and nicotine products, in order to protect the health of the public.

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