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The sales of e-cigarettes and e-shishas are prohibited in the UAE, and earlier this year a local health official had said that the country was working on devising regulations that would stop the import of e-cigarettes. When these rules are implemented, anyone caught smuggling the devices would face criminal charges.

In relation to personal use e-cigarettes are treated as regular cigarettes.
Additionally in 2017, the Dubai Municipality had announced that it was going to fine anyone caught vaping inside shopping malls, and other closed public places, pointing out that the penalties imposed on vaping violations would be identical to the ones imposed on smoking. This has caused some confusion and left residents in doubt over rules related to personal use.

“If something is illegal to buy and to import or bring into the country, that would lead me to believe that the item itself is illegal to use. Yet people tell me e-cigarettes are okay for personal use. I get mixed feedback, but nothing is concrete. The law doesn’t seem to say that you can’t smoke it, so I honestly don’t know if it is allowed or not,” said a Canadian expatriate.

“Outlets that sell vapes and electronic cigarettes have their goods confiscated and are issued a warning for the first offence. If people have vapes or e-cigarettes, they can smoke it only in designated areas. However, we make sure that people don’t get access to such products locally.”Redha Salman, Director of the health and safety department, Dubai Municipality

The director of the health and safety department at the Dubai Municipality, Redha Salman, has spoken up to clarify the situation, confirming that in relation to personal use e-cigarettes are treated as regular cigarettes. “Outlets that sell vapes and electronic cigarettes have their goods confiscated and are issued a warning for the first offence,” he said, adding, “If people have vapes or e-cigarettes, they can smoke it only in designated areas. However, we make sure that people don’t get access to such products locally.”

Considering lifting the bans on e-cigarettes

On the other hand, the situation may be changing. Last month government consumer watchdog, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma), said that it was currently reviewing the scientific data on alternative tobacco products. This review is part of a plan to establish whether the current bans on e-cigarettes should be lifted.

Read Further: Khaleej Times

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