Dubai: Electronic cigarettes and vaping is banned in the UAE, but that didn’t stop these two tobacco shops in Deira.
Dubai Municipality inspectors have seized and destroyed e-cigarettes and e-shishas confiscated from two shops in the Murar neighbourhood.
The vapes were sold at outlets that specialised in tobacco and smoking accessories, including flavoured tobacco used in e-cigarettes and e-shishas, the city government stated on its Facebook page.
The quantity of confiscated goods was not revealed, but the municipality confirmed that the Environmental Emergency Office at the municipality’s Public Health and Safety Department destroyed all the products.
Redha Salman, director of Public Health and Safety Department, told Gulf News that there were least 10 different types of electronic products found.
Outlets that sell vapes and electronic cigarettes usually have their goods confiscated and are issued a warning, but in this instance, the two outlets may be slapped with a hefty Dh500,000 fine.
“We are looking into their cases to check whether this is their first offence, or if they were caught previously selling these banned goods. If they have been warned before, they can face a fine of up to Dh500,000,” he said.
In 2015, there was speculation that the rules on selling e-cigarettes would become more lenient after the Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority (Esma) sent a draft technical law to the World Trade Organisation indicating this step.
However, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention in 2016 reiterated that selling e-cigarettes was illegal, and the ban is still in effect today. Any kind of vaping gear that is brought into the country is also confiscated at the airport.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also does not endorse the use of e-cigarettes, and remains unconvinced of the harm reduction aspect of e-smoking.
The WHO stance is that youngsters who have had no experience of smoking might indirectly get addicted to nicotine through vaping products.