A ban on tobacco trails on public land has led to a steep decline in the tobacco industry in Israel, as the government looks to revive the sector in a new way.
The Israeli Tobacco Products Association (ITPA) announced Wednesday it had secured the consent of the Israeli Agriculture Ministry to begin growing tobacco in its fields, which were once covered by the government’s “Camelot” tobacco ban.
The agency said that in addition to the ban, a total of 17,000 acres of the country’s 5,000 miles of tobacco trails have been opened for cultivation, with more to come.
The ministry said the decision to allow the tobacco trail cultivation was based on several factors including its importance to the countrys economy, health and the environment.
The industry has seen its sales decline in recent years, and a recent survey conducted by ITPA found that 75 percent of its members do not support the industry.
The survey also found that the tobacco trails industry is one of the most vulnerable to new tobacco plant diseases.
Tobacco industry groups say the industry has lost around 4,000 jobs since the government banned tobacco trails, as more than 80 percent of the industry’s workforce has left the industry since 2015.