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United Arab Emirates Lifting E-Cigarette Ban

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Vapers planning travel to Abu Dhabi, Dubai or anywhere between the border of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are in luck. Starting in mid-April, electronic nicotine delivery systems will no longer be illegal in the country.

Director General of the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA), Abdullah Al Maeeni, announced in mid-February that new standards for vaping in the country have been approved, including regulations regarding where people can vape.

“We issued the regulation to legalize it, and it will be enforced by mid of April 2019, as the Authority is working hard through the development of technical standards and regulations,” he said in his announcement.

Previously, vaping had been illegal in the UAE, but residents skirted the issue regularly and vaped in public, according to the Khaleej Times. Redha Salman, director of health and safety department at the Dubai Municipality, told the news source that “vapes are treated like normal cigarettes,” and can’t be vaped in public places.

New ESMA laws will include:

  • Regulation of all e-cigarette components, including details related to technical specifications, weight, list of ingredients, import, packaging and labeling
  • Making room for non-tobacco products like e-cigs and e-liquids
  • Sale within borders will be legal, as long as manufacturers and merchants stick to the new regulations

Officials say that banning e-cigarettes has effectively created a black market of illegal use and sales in the UAE, and ESMA hopes to keep a closer eye on use with lifting the ban. Manufacturers and sellers are urged to “abide by the standards and obtain a certificate prior to the distribution of the products.”

New standards in terms of how much nicotine are pending, and one person from the UK, who spoke to the news site anonymously, said that “new regulations will make sure users are getting a ‘safe’ product. Right now I buy a new unit once a month because I see many explode, it's scary. Tighter regulations is good.’”

Obviously buying e-cigarettes and e-liquids from across the border and transporting them in has led to markup, and now that buying is becoming legalized within the UAE, prices could drop. Additionally, “fake” e-liquid and counterfeit devices have been a problem. The anonymous source said that with the current situation, "Sellers take advantage of you because vapes are not available everywhere. I pay anything between Dh60-Dh100 for e-liquids and between Dh180-Dh1,000 for the vape unit, depending on size. I'm looking forward to paying less."