Dubai: Whether it is a traditional cigarette or an e-cigarette, smoking in an office or a closed space is not allowed. This was the clear message given by the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), which encouraged smokers to quit the habit in an awareness message on May 31, which is World Tobacco Day.
Clarifying misconceptions among users, who might assume that e-ciagrettes or ‘vapes’ are different from other tobacco products, the Ministry stated that e-cigarettes are subject to the Federal Law No. 15 of 2009 on Tobacco Control. Additionally, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) issued a technical regulation in 2019 on e-cigarettes, titled ‘Electronic Nicotine Products (Equivalents of Traditional Tobacco Products)’.
So, if you, or someone you know, smokes e-cigarettes, these are the regulations in the UAE that you should be aware of.
Penalties around e-cigarettes
According to the official UAE government website, u.ae, the Federal Law No. 15 of 2009 regarding Tobacco Control forbids and penalises:
- The sale of tobacco products to those under 18.
- Smoking in closed public spaces.
- Smoking in private cars when a child under the age of 12 is present.
- Smoking in houses of worship, educational institutions (such as universities and schools), health and sports facilities.
- The sale of sweets which resemble tobacco products.
- Automatic vending equipment and devices for tobacco distribution inside the country.
- Tobacco advertisement.
Warning signs that e-cigarettes should contain
According to the technical regulations by ESMA, an electronic nicotine product sold in the UAE should have the following warning signs:
1. The health warning on the package should be placed directly on the outer cover of the package, and should be fully visible – not hidden by any price marks, security features, wrappers or stamps.
2. For products which contain nicotine (as some vaping liquids may not contain nicotine), they must contain specific health warnings on the harmful effects of nicotine, especially on the health of pregnant and nursing women and people suffering from certain chronic diseases.
3. The labels should also clearly show that the product can only be sold to someone who is above the age of 18.
4. Special warning signs should be pasted for e-cigarettes that contain electronic liquid.
Help available if you want to quit
Nicotine addiction is serious and can be a hard habit to give up. If you are suffering from this addiction and are looking for help, the UAE’s health authorities have opened smoking cessation clinics at various locations across the country that guide and support individuals who want to quit smoking. Click here to find the clinics offering free rehabilitation programmes for smokers in the UAE.