Muscat: Oman’s Public Authority for Consumer Protection has banned e-cigarettes and e-shisha on Sunday. A PACP official says the move comes after medical studies found that the items contain cancer-causing elements.

Anyone found selling the cigarettes will be slapped with a 500 Omani rial fine. The fine will be doubled for repeat offenses.

The PACP says it will intensify inspections across the country to ensure the safety of the public.

Other Gulf states have already banned the sale of e-cigarettes.

Meanwhile, Oman is studying a ban on smoking in public places such like beaches, parks and bus stations.

Oman banned smoking in enclosed public spaces such as shopping malls, cafes and restaurants in April 2010.

Sultan Qaboos University banned smoking on its premises last year due to an increase in student smoking.

The university clinic has also initiated a rehabilitation programme to help students quit.

Oman spends over 20 million rials a year treating smoking-related illnesses.

There are no exact figures for the number of smokers in Oman but Ministry of Health officials say smoking is on the rise.

Saudi Arabia topped the list for tobacco consumption the the GCC followed by Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

GCC finance ministers have recently approved imposing a 100 per cent selective tax on tobacco and tobacco-related products equal to the customs duty charges.