Eleven years ago, the UAE opted in for the World Health Organisation convention on tobacco control and in the past decade have prohibited advertising and sponsorship of tobacco, smoking in enclosed public spaces and there will be absolutely no smoking areas in and near places of worship, sports centres, health and educational facilities. This means that there has been an almost outright ban on public smoking for almost a decade. This isn’t surprising; in a country ruled by religious law, many vices and addictive habits have been banned and are punished severely.
Recently however, vaping has been placed under this ban. Shopping centre security staff in the UAE have been encouraged to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in and around the locations due to an apparent lack of enforcing the law. The law clearly states that vaping is prohibited but many areas still turn a blind eye.
This has been clamped down on recently; Redha Salman of the Dubai Public Health and Safety Department has stated that “the municipality has noticed that there are some shopping centres that allow violations of the indoor smoking ban, especially so-called electronic cigarettes, and allow smoking at the entrances of shopping centres.” This implies a sudden clampdown on the habit in populated areas. Signs will now be placed outside venues saying that there will be no smoking or vaping allowed outside. According to various national newspapers there have been government officials who have been meeting regularly with members of the public regarding their complaints about vaping violations. Recently there have been fines on vendors selling vape related products of up to 136,000 US dollars whilst those travelling to the country have been known to have their devices seized at airports.
The reason for this is mostly down to the countries strict laws. With Sharia Law being strictly adhered to, substances which are thought to be addictive have been banned within the country. This includes vape products and means that you should make sure that you aren’t seen vaping in public. In Westernised Hotels it is generally thought that laws are more relaxed. You may be able to get away with vaping in the confines of your own living space but should make sure you ask management to minimise any risk of punishment.