You Won’t Believe the Punishment for Selling Vapes in Dubai

Vaping and e-cigs are forbidden in the wealthy Persian Gulf emirate


If you break the law and sell e-cigarettes in Dubai a second time, you could be fined as much as $136,000.

Vaping is illegal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as are vapor products of all types. Two tobacco shops recently had inventory seized and destroyed by the Public Health and Safety Department (PHSD), according to Gulf News. The paper says that first offenders are usually given a warning (and their products are confiscated and destroyed), but repeat offenders are subject to large fines.

Travelers to the UAE can have their vaping devices and e-liquid seized at airports too.

“We are looking into their cases to check whether this is their first offence, or if they were caught previously selling these banned goods. If they have been warned before, they can face a fine of up to Dh500,000,” PHSD director Redha Salman said. The prohibition includes not just sales, but possession and use too. Travelers to the UAE can have their vaping devices and e-liquid seized at airports too.

After considering a loosening of the law in 2015, the UAE Health and Prevention Ministry reversed course in 2016 and left the ban in place, probably in order to please the World Health Organization (WHO), whose tobacco control arm the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) discourages its member countries from promoting low-risk nicotine alternatives.

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

Jim McDonald

I spend most of my time studying the regulatory, legislative and scientific challenges to vaping, advocating for our right to exist, and talking with others who do the same. Consider me a source for information, and feel free to agree or disagree with anything I say. I love good coffee and sweet Michigan cherries. My childhood hero was Gordie Howe.

  • Drake Lucas

    This ain’t true since I been Vaping 3 years dubai and not once asked or stopped by police or airport authorities…Indian security agencies hav a problem with it though …

    • Jeremy

      What part isn’t true?

    • Sudipt123

      Why would indian authorities have a problem with vaping in Dubai, mate? Please explain

    • Sinister ZaDjALi

      It is true. Maybe they don’t care sometimes maybe they focus on the shops who sells it, but this is true as I always travel between oman and UAE (dubai).

  • Karim Emara

    Vaping since a year, travelled to India and back. Customs looked at my 2 vapes in my checked in luggage. No issues at all.

    I quit smoking after 5 years struggling. I hope they see the benefits.

    Sale is banned. But a grey market exists.

    • Jeremy

      Thank goodness! Hopefully they continue to look the other way with regard to travelers, and the grey market in general.

  • Dale Williams

    Vaped in the Dubai airport smoking lounge a few days ago and no one had an issue with it. I was not the only person caping either.

  • Ali

    Hello first of all thank you jim for this article . I just want to point out that vaping and personal use is not illegal in dubai its just selling it . I have been vaping for 3 years now and everywhere and its totally fine even i travelled with my vaping devices. Its just some people bring a large amount of e liquid when entering back which may cause some suspicious alert to the airport authorities and will suspect if all of this is for personal use other than that no issues at all. Another thing Dubai is located in the Arabian gulf not Persian gulf dont mind the google map :P. Persian gulf is on Iran side not ours . Thank you and vape on guys

    • Jim McDonald

      Thanks for the info!

      • nheil canoy

        So I want to quit smoking and I want to start vaping and I dont know where to buy a Starket kit or everything else and If Im able to find one I cannot choose a suitable juice for me cause we dont have sample juice here and about the freaking atomizer also. Can somebody help me?

        • Jim McDonald

          You’re in the UAE?

          • nheil canoy

            yeah Im in the Uae im working on the freezone. I really want to quit smoking.