The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is introducing regulations that may ease the ban on the sale of e-cigarettes within the country.
Authorities from Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (Esma) in January sent a draft technical regulation to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which notified them of the UAE’s intention to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes. The document sent to the WTO states that the objective of the regulation is to protect human health by ensuring quality products are available in the market.
The sale of e-cigarettes is currently banned in the UAE, which follows the cautious position adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to a story in the Khaleej Times. Regulation of the sale of e-cigarettes is believed to be based on recent recommendations from the WHO that examine the emerging evidence on the health impacts of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), of which electronic cigarettes are the most common prototype, according to the Times.
The health ministry of the UAE has banned the sale of e-cigarettes because experts have not yet determined the long-term effects of such devices on users.
“E-cigarettes are considered as harmful as tobacco and not as a smoking cessation tool,” a source from the ministry was quoted as saying in the Times story. “Currently conflicting studies are going on this matter which cannot be used as justifications to allow products into the country,” added the source.
Despite the ban on e-cigarette sales, the devices have been illegally imported and sold across throughout the UAE.