Dubai raids 11 out­lets sell­ing e-cig­a­rettes

The National - News - - NEWS / EMIRATES - NICK WEB­STER

To­bacco shops il­le­gally sell­ing e-cig­a­rettes have been tar­geted in a city-wide crack­down.

Seven re­tail­ers were fined and had il­le­gal goods con­fis­cated and de­stroyed as part of a cam­paign in Al Hu­daiba, Bur Dubai and Al Mu­rar.

Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­spec­tors seized 30 elec­tronic cig­a­rettes from 11 out­lets, as well as 100 kilo­grams of to­bacco that was be­ing sold in il­le­gal pack­ag­ing.

It is the lat­est sign that gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials re­main firmly against to­bacco smok­ing al­ter­na­tives since a 100 per cent to­bacco tax was in­tro­duced in the fourth quar­ter of last year.

The sale of e-cig­a­rettes and e-shisha pipes is pro­hib­ited.

Shops sell­ing vapes, e-cigs and re­fill liq­uids can have their goods con­fis­cated and be given a warn­ing for a first of­fence. Re­peat of­fend­ers risk a Dh500,000 fine.

Dur­ing the crack­down, 200 pack­ets of ar­ti­fi­cially-flavoured to­bacco were with­drawn be­cause the pack­ag­ing did not spec­ify the ori­gin of the prod­uct or its in­gre­di­ents, nor did it have a health warn­ing la­bel – a reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ment.

Smoke-free to­bacco prod­ucts are yet to launch in the UAE, al­though e-cig­a­rettes are widely used with liq­uid top-ups bought over­seas or from black mar­ket deal­ers.

In an on­line poll by The Na­tional of more than 600 smok­ers, more than half said they had tried e-cig­a­rettes or e-pipes, de­spite de­vices and re­fills be­ing banned from sale in the UAE.

Of those who had tried to­bacco al­ter­na­tives, 54 per cent said they were not pre­pared to switch to elec­tronic de­vices.

One of the world’s largest to­bacco pro­duc­ers, Philip Mor­ris In­ter­na­tional, said al­most 5 mil­lion adult smok­ers had quit cig­a­rettes by switch­ing to elec­tric to­bacco de­vices that heat rather than burn to­bacco and do not pro­duce the same car­cino­gens.

In Fe­bru­ary, Tarkan Demir­bas, area vice pres­i­dent for Philip Mor­ris in Dubai, said the com­pany was com­mit­ted to one day of­fer­ing smoke­free al­ter­na­tives in the GCC.

“[But] there are com­mer­cial and reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments that must be met be­fore we can bring a new prod­uct into a mar­ket,” he said. “I hope that those re­quire­ments are met as soon as pos­si­ble so that we can be­gin of­fer­ing bet­ter op­tions to smok­ers in the GCC.”


The UAE bans the sale and im­port of e-cig­a­rettes

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