In a city like Dubai, with its rising cosmopolitan culture and Islamic roots, are people allowed to engage in Vaping or smoking e-cigarettes? Let us understand the actual law related to Vaping in Dubai and the way it is put into practice.
Can you vape in Dubai? Yes, Dubai does allow you to vape, but subject to conditions. Contrary to popular notion, it’s NOT illegal to vape in Dubai. Vaping or smoking e-cigarettes in unauthorized areas is an illegal activity in Dubai and is punishable by law. Unauthorized areas include houses of worship, educational institutes, health, and sports facilities and closed public spaces such as malls, etc. Anyone caught smoking e-cigarettes in public could face a fine of up to 2000 dirham, or worse go to jail.
Dubai is a dream destination for many, and its popularity is only on the rise if you look at the trend these last few years. But unfortunately for vape users, it might get tricky to indulge unabashedly, while living in Dubai or during for a visit. It used to be illegal to even sell vape or e-cigarettes, but this year it was made legal. In February 2019, it was announced that selling e-cigarettes were no more banned; the people of UAE could expect them on sale soon.
Vaping Rules to Keep in Mind
The actual rule came to effect in April and was welcomed by the market in which tobacco consumption is high and ranges from 25-30 % among men. The Dubai Govt asserts this move as an effort to curb smoking in the UAE and to stop the online sale of illegal devices, as a response to the rising awareness in smoking-related health hazards and the growing demand for alternatives to normal cigarettes.
One needs to keep in mind that E-cigarettes and vape are treated as cigarettes in Dubai, which means that you should only vape outdoors and in designated smoking areas. Smoking e-cigarettes in many areas remains a punishable offense, but there is still some level of ambiguity as to whether one can smoke it in their home and other places. This is a point that often keeps popping up when this topic is under discussion. In this article, let’s explore various caveats and understand this in detail.
The Actual Law on Tobacco/ E-cigarettes
The official website according to Federal Law No.15 of 2009 regarding Tobacco Control states that the below things are forbidden and penalized:
- the sale of e-cigarettes products to those under 18
- 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
- Smoking in closed public spaces.
The Dubai law authorities also ban smoking in places and houses of worship, educational, health, and sports facilities. However, it is indicated that a permit is allowed to be obtained from designated authority to carve out smoking areas at indoor places under specific rules.
With all the confusion around the safe spots to use e-cigarettes, it is best to be utterly cautious about where you are smoking. The exceptions seem to be the designated areas in where one can vape without getting into trouble. For a simple guide, the thumb rule is any place you can safely smoke in, you can also be Vaping there.
You can vape where you can smoke (outdoors, shisha cafes, bars), etc. It is always a good idea to observe, and ask locals you can trust on which places are appropriate. It is a good idea to avoid Vaping in crowded public places because there are people who can find it to be annoying and bothersome.
Another thing to be extremely cautious of is to not smoke in the streets or in any other place where there are other people is during Ramadan, the holy month. You must keep in mind that all practitioners of the Muslim faith, do not eat, drink or smoke during the day, in the holy month. If you find yourself in Dubai at this time, it is advised not to vape in public or do it in a place that is well hidden from the gaze of others.
The Dubai police have also reported a record number of people being caught Vaping with CBD oil or cannabis oil, with over 100 people arrested within the first quarter of 2019. CBD aka cannabis oil is equivalent to cannabis in the UAE and is therefore illegal, as per the law. The minimum sentence if you are found in possession can start from two years in jail to ten years or more depending on the amount of cannabis they are carrying.
Traveling to Dubai with a Vaping Kit
According to the Dubai customs site, there are goods prohibited of whose import and export under provisions of the Common Customs Law of Dubai or any other regulation or law applicable in the State. One of these items clearly states E-cigarettes along with electronic hookah. So it would be wise to avoid carrying them during your visit to Dubai.
On the other hand, various travel forums have people stating their experiences quoting that a personal Vaping kit with minimum liquid is allowed to pass through, while it is questioned. So you may fall into trouble if you are carrying a larger amount of stock, but if you are able to convince the authorities that it is for your personal use in designated areas and you have no intentions of breaking the law, you may very well be among the lucky few whose vape kit passed through.
In either case, our suggestion is to check with your airlines and avoid the risk of your kit getting confiscated as much as you possibly can.
Where can I buy a Vape in Dubai?
The most popular places to be buying a vape in Dubai seem to the many online stores that sell e-cigarettes and al lot it accessories. Right from kits, to e-juice, to refillable pods, there are plenty of options to choose from, when it comes to buying your vape stuff online. Some even boast of same-day delivery!
Did you know that the world’s first Vape expo is to be hosted in Dubai in 2020!
The World Vape Show, recently announced that “the first international vape expo of its kind in the UAE, will be held in Dubai from June 3-5, 2020, due to recent government legislation making the sale of e-cigarettes, Vaping devices and e-liquids legal for the first time.
The three-day exhibition will provide manufacturers with a unique opportunity to showcase products to thousands of international retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and consumers in Dubai. The first two days of the event will be dedicated to business buyers, whereas the third day will open its doors to the general public.”
So if you are a vape enthusiast, and you are in Dubai around this time, this event is an epic coming together of the Vaping tribe – one that you should absolutely not miss.
To sum things up, Dubai can be a fun place for any kind of visitor, be it business or leisure. As cosmopolitan as it may seem, there are many things that the law prohibits as compared to where we come from. As always, stay cautious and sensitive to the local practices and laws when it comes to Vaping. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way in ensuring you will adhere to basic cultural sensitivities and have a great time without offending any local or breaking any law.
And remember, the key to Vaping in Dubai is to Vape Responsibly!