Photo Credit: Reza Mehrad / Unsplash

Israel is raising the price of tobacco products with a tax hike signed on Sunday by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

The increase in the sales tax on a variety of smoking products takes effect at midnight Sunday night (March 3).


The tax increase on tobacco products, approved by the Knesset Finance Committee, comes as part of the government’s decision to “prevent smoking and promote a health lifestyle.”

A large majority of Israelis begin smoking in their teens and during their mandatory military service.

Israel’s Health Ministry last year reported on a study conducted by researchers from Tel Aviv University, Haifa University and the Hebrew University in cooperation with researchers from the IDF Medical Corps, assessing the prevalence of smoking among 50,254 persons recruited to the IDF in the last 24 years.

The researchers reported that 31 percent of boys and 25.7 percent of girls were smoking at the time of recruitment to the Israel Defense Forces. The most dangerous age for beginning to smoke is 17, the researchers noted, adding that the average age at which Israelis begin smoking is age 15.7 for boys and age 16 for the girls.

According to a July 2023 report by the Israeli Health Ministry, 27.3 percent of men in Israel and 12.6 percent of women in Israel smoke.

When broken down by nationality, the smoking rate is 26.3 percent in the Arab population and 18.4 percent in the Jewish population. Over half of male smokers reported consuming 10-20 cigarettes per day, both among Jews and among Arabs.

The increase will mean the sales tax on cigarettes will rise from 270 percent and a price of NIS 444.03 ($122) per thousand cigarettes up to NIS 850.62 ($235) per thousand cigarettes, to 270 percent and NIS 524.50 ($145) per thousand cigarettes up not less than NIS 930 ($258) per thousand cigarettes.

The purchase tax on processed tobacco will rise from 270 percent and NIS 634.34 ($175) per kilogram up to than NIS 1,215.18 ($335) per kilogram, to 270 percent and NIS 749.29 ($205) per kilogram up to NIS 1,328.57 Shekels ($365) per kilogram.

The purchase tax on liquid for filling electronic cigarettes and disposable electronic cigarettes will also be increased.

In addition, the sales tax will increase on other tobacco products, including on a tobacco heating device that uses tobacco units and a tobacco heating device that uses tobacco.

A tax of NIS 113.39 ($32) per kg will be imposed on packages of loose tobacco for cigarettes as well.

TPS contributed to this report.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.