Up until now, the UAE had maintained a forbidding stance towards e-cigarettes, and despite all the research indicating that the devices are effective smoking cessation tools, local authorities had insisted on upholding the illegal status of the products.

Last March, a UAE senior health official had even said that the country was working on devising regulations which would stop the illegal import of e-cigarettes, and that anyone caught smuggling the devices would be facing criminal charges.

However in a sudden U turn, last September the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma), said that it was reviewing the scientific data on alternative tobacco products, as part of a plan to establish whether the ban should be lifted.

New E-Cig Regulations: UAE.S 5030

Consequently, last Sunday ESMA confirmed that new regulations known as UAE.S 5030 will allow the legal sale of e-cigarettes and vaping devices, as long as manufacturers meet new standards and carry health warnings similar to those on traditional cigarette packets.

Abdulla Al Maeeni, director general of ESMA, said concern about the spread of unregulated e-cigarettes was among the reasons behind the move, adding that many users have a “lack of knowledge of the ingredients used”. He said that by regulating sales, ESMA can ensure quality and safety standards.

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