“The GCC already has notifications that ban the import of e-cigarettes and the UAE is the only country that does not have any such rules,” she added. The GCC (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf), is a regional union consisting of six union states, amongst which the UAE.
“What we are looking at doing is working with the customs authorities and finding a way to stop people from ordering online and bringing e-cigarettes with them into the country,” added Al Maidoor, whilst pointing out that whilst having to comply with the Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Association (ESMA), she cannot exclude that the regulatory situation, might change in the future. “No company in the UAE has a licence to import e-cigarettes and we do not have any plans to allow such. However, we cannot talk about the future.”
“A well known fact” that is neither fact, nor well known
Interestingly, Dr. Al Maidoor said that it is “a well known fact” that e-cigarettes are not any safer than cigarettes and do not really help to quit smoking. Many public health experts will find this matter of factly unsound statement comedic at best, since actually the well known fact is that the products are at least 95% safer than regular cigarettes, and there are numerous scientific studies from all over the world that confirm this.
It is also ironic, that whilst such a harsh and unfounded stance is adopted towards e-cigarettes, regular cigarettes are still widely available and easily accessible in all convenience stores across the UAE, despite the fact that everyone knows how harmful they are.
E-cigs are banned, but cigarettes remain widely available to the public
Despite believing that smokers need a comprehensive program that includes cessation tools in order to quit successfully, local doctors still dismiss e-cigarettes as potential aides. “We are still unsure of the safety of e-cigarettes, and it will take some time before we can support their use,” said Dr Hassan Razein, a specialist in respiratory medicine at Zulekha Hospital.
The actual well known fact: E-cigs are the most effective smoking cessation tools to date
Besides being significantly safer than regular cigarettes, in line with what several other studies hailing from other parts of the world have shown, a recent study from New Zealand clearly indicates that electronic cigarettes are more effective as smoking cessation aides, than nicotine patches and other NRTs. Research keeps pointing to the fact that e-cigs are smokers’ preferred cessation aides, as the hand to mouth motion that mimics the act of smoking, makes the transition from smoking to not smoking an easier one.
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