Smoking e-cigarettes is Prohibited inside offices and closed spaces in the UAE
Cigarette smoking is injurious to health. Everybody knows it yet ignores it blatantly. A large chunk of people in the UAE smokes. According to a report, the smoking prevalence in the UAE is 24% in men and 0.8% in females. Although it is much lower than in other Middle Eastern countries, the authorities are trying their best to reduce it further.
UAE government already has strict laws in place regarding Tobacco sales and consumption. This year (2022), on World Tobacco Day, May 31, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) UAE, has issued strong directives to discourage smoking and make people aware of the side effects.
In UAE, people consume tobacco in multiple ways. Among men, cigarettes are the most common way of using tobacco—both conventional and electric cigarettes; followed by midwakh and shisha. E-cigarettes, though marketed as less harmful, most people tend to overlook the term ‘harmful’ in less harmful. Thus, UAE has announced a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed spaces.
The ministry wants to debunk the popular notion of e-cigarettes or ‘vapes’ being safe and not the same as other tobacco products. The officials during the announcement clarified that e-cigarettes are also governed by Federal Law No. 15 of 2009 on Tobacco Control, just like other tobacco products.
Additionally, technical regulation on e-cigarettes called Electronic Nicotine Products was published in 2019 by the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA). Anyone who smokes e-cigarettes in Dubai must be aware of UAE’s cigarette rules.
What are e-cigarettes?
An electronic cigarette is a battery-powered gadget. It emits a vaporized solution containing nicotine, which is inhaled. The device provides the sensation of inhaling tobacco smoke, but without the smoke.
E-cigarettes are available in the market by many names e-hookahs, vaporizer cigarettes, vapes, and vape pens.
Regulations Related to Use of e-cigarettes in UAE
According to Federal Law No. 15 of 2009 governing tobacco control, the UAE government prohibits and punishes the following activities.
- Selling cigarettes to minors (under the age of 18).
- Smoking in enclosed public venues.
- Smoking when a kid under 12 is present with you or in a private vehicle.
- Smoking is strictly banned in places of worship, educational institutions (e.g., Schools and Universities), health care facilities, or sports facilities.
- The sale of sweets that look similar to cigarettes.
- Ban on automatic vending machines and devices that distribute tobacco in UAE.
- No advertisement for tobacco products.
Other Measures Taken by the Authorities
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (‘MOHAP’) has issued a strong warning that the leniency of regulations on e-cigarettes and related products may result in serious health risks, especially for children. A circular was issued by MOHAP to healthcare facilities and professionals to assess if there are incidents of fits or seizures in people using e-cigarettes. The circular also asked doctors to check for how long the patient is using e-cigarettes, obtain the brand name and observe blood and urine samples for nicotine levels. The doctors are also asked to report the concerns to MOHAP if they observe adverse reactions to e-cigarettes.
The reason for such stern measures was the expert reports and the World Health Organization (WHO) report. The WHO has reported the consumption of e-cigarettes is on the rise. Moreover, tobacco companies are aggressively marketing these devices to kids and teenagers by employing a variety of tasty flavors and false advertising. According to the WHO, kids who use these items are at increased risk of using tobacco products in the future.
Reducing the consumption of cigarettes (general or electric) and other tobacco products is considered the key indicator of the world-class healthcare of UAE’s national agenda.
How to get e-cigarettes and a Vape License in Dubai?
The Dubai Government has launched an operation under the class “Tobacco and Smoking Accessories Trade” called “Electronic Cigarette & Accessory Trade” under Dubai Economic Development (DED). Since this action is registered on Dubai’s mainland, investors can legally trade electronic cigarettes on the local market.
e-cigarette and Vape License in UAE
Electronic cigarettes are electrical devices that are similar to the act of smoking cigarettes. Vaping is a term used to describe the use of electronic cigarettes. There is a liquid in an e-cigarette that might or might not contain nicotine. It is also popular throughout the world and is seen as a tool that aids to quit smoking.
The Emirates Standardization and Metrology Authority (ESMA) must first grant authorization to any company producing or selling electronic cigarettes, liquid refills, electronic pipes, and other products. Anyone who wants to manufacture liquids (e-juice) or devices will also need free sales certificate, lab reports, and product analysis report.
Until April 2019, the sale of e-cigarettes in Dubai was not legal. Emirates Standardization and Metrology Authority (ESMA) was authorized to track drug approval. The move has helped ensure the in-depth inspection of ingredients and limit the use of banned substances.
Advertising of E-Cigarettes and Tobacco
In the UAE, it is illegal to advertise tobacco products and e-cigarettes. Federal Law No. 15 of 2009 regarding Tobacco Control also establishes legal requirements concerning health warnings on packaging and labeling. Moreover, there are restrictions on direct and indirect cigarette advertising, promotion, and sponsorship. Thus, free distribution, promotional discounts, and sponsorship are illegal, as well as direct cigarette advertising on national television, print media, online, and billboards.
Additionally, the UAE is required to enact extensive regulations against tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship because it is a signatory to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (often known as the “WHO FCTC”). No changes are anticipated in UAE advertising rules to accommodate e-cigarettes due to prevailing health concerns and the addictive nature of nicotine.
The MoHAP has also collaborated with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Both block the websites that advertise and promote electronic tobacco products.
The government has made it clear that the federal tobacco control law applies to the use of e-cigarettes. In the UAE, smoking an e-cigarette in a building or enclosed area is unlawful. It is anticipated the National Tobacco Control Committee of the UAE may outlaw public smoking entirely. Until then, you can enjoy your e-cigarettes at permitted places that do not come under the ban.