Dubai Cracks Down on Public Vaping

Dubai is suggesting shopping malls enforce the country’s public smoking ban, which includes vaping.

Malls have been “encouraged” to instruct security staff to prevent smoking and vaping outside near entrances, according to a story in Arabian Business. The public smoking ban in the capital of the largest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was passed in 2009. It includes use of e-cigarettes.

“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,” Redha Salman, director of Public Health and Safety Department in Dubai Municipality, told the state news agency.

Vaping is technically illegal in the UAE, but enforcement is apparently spotty.

“Shopping centres and malls have been directed to encourage their security personnel to treat people in a polite manner and to put signs and warnings on the entrances,” Salman said. “In the case of people repeating these practices, the security officer has the right to resort to the police to take the necessary measures.”

According to Arabian Business, municipal government officials recently met with shopping mall management “to discuss customer complaints about the electronic cigarettes smoking phenomena.”

Vaping is technically illegal in the UAE, but enforcement is apparently spotty. Still, vendors have been subject to product seizures and fines as high as $136,000 (Dh 500,000). Travelers to the UAE can have their vaping devices and e-liquid seized at airports too.

Dubai is the largest of the seven federated emirates, which are located on the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich monarchy has a population of just under three million, and is one of the most expensive places in the world to live.

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Jim McDonald