The United Arab Emirates recently decided to lift their ban on vaporizers, clearing the way for increased smoking cessation
Modern vaping has come a long way from the humble smoking cessation tool invented just over 15 years ago. It’s grown to become a massive industry in its own right, all while continuing to reduce the harm caused by cigarettes and helping smokers quit. Despite this, many legislators remain split on how to proceed, with critics claiming acceptance of vaping will undo tobacco control efforts, and proponents pointing to a growing pile of evidence backing the utility of e-cigarettes. Luckily another country is reconsidering their harsh treatment of vaping, as the United Arab Emirates recently announced they’d be implementing some regulatory changes aimed at making vaping legal there.
This announcement has received a lot of praise from the vaping community, as the UAE had only recently doubled down on their vaping regulations last year. With many experts calling 2019 a “make or break” year for the vaping industry, this positive update could not have come at a better time, with the entire industry under increased pressure from the FDA, and their misguided flavor ban looking closer to reality all the time.
The Policy Update
With things starting to look darker for the industry, it was resoundingly positive news coming out of Abu Dhabi earlier this month. The Khaleej Times reported the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) approved the policy update last Saturday. The move primarily implemented new, more lenient, standards for the nicotine in e-cigarettes, which was previously seen as one of the biggest legal roadblocks to vaping in the UAE. According to ESMA, this will no longer be an issue by mid-April when their new rules go into effect. Experts believe this means most stores will soon be able to carry a wide range of vaporizers and vaping supplies.
This policy update comes in the middle of the UAE’s push to curb traditional smoking, something they’ve mostly avoided until this point. They also wanted to cut off the illegal e-cigarette market which had grown in the UAE as a result of their strict regulations. The government is urging all sellers and manufacturers to follow their new guidelines so they’ll qualify for the proper certificates. The government sees this as a way to cut into an illegal market, while also giving smokers access to a proven method for ending their dependence on tobacco once and for all.
While they didn’t go into what exactly informed their decision, it doesn’t take long to find a ton of research which supports the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of e-cigarettes. Back in 2015 Public Health England published a report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. At the time this was a massive development, but in the years since we’ve gotten a lot more evidence. In fact, last December we got a study which found e-liquid vapor contains around 93% fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke. But to truly understand what’s at stake, just take a look at the report published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is about 57,000 times higher than a demographically similar vaper.
But looking past the pure harm reduction value of vaping and you still find plenty of reason to support these devices. We have reason to believe that not only is vaping and effective smoking cessation tool, but it’s the most likely to lead to a successful quit attempt. That’s what a study conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville found when they tested all the most common smoking cessation methods and tools. But potentially the biggest secret about vaping is that the teenage vaping “epidemic” is being severely blown out of proportion. A study of over 60,000 students concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaporizers regularly, which means far fewer are ever ending up smokers because of a Juul.
So while countries like the US are hard at work taking away vaping rights, it’s fantastic to see other places take the evidence into account and adjust their policies accordingly. Now smokers in the UAE will soon have access to what research indicates is the single best harm reduction and smoking cessation tool available. With public perception of the benefits of vaping being as low as 13% according to polls, it remains imperative that we spread positive information to the smokers in our lives. Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world, so it’s vital we do everything we can to stop this epidemic. That includes reconsidering our stance on vaping, just like the United Arab Emirates did.
Are you surprised the UAE reconsidered their stance on vaping? Do you think this will have a more significant impact on the vaping industry as a whole? What’s the best way to spread positive information about vaping to those around us? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.