The United Arab Emirates became the most recent country to rethink its ban on vaping.
The vaping industry is very different than it was when vaping first hit the scene over ten years ago. These days it’s an influential player, having become a massive multi-billion dollar industry. The majority of vaping companies remain resolute that their primary goal is to help as many people as possible quit smoking once and for all. Backing these companies is a growing pile of independent research which supports the harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits of vaping. However, there is still a considerable sentiment among members of the government that e-cigarettes are doing more harm than good.
Fortunately, another country has taken a good look at the evidence and reconsidered their previously harsh stance on e-cigarettes. The announcement from the United Arab Emirates was met with plenty of celebration from the vaping community. It’s an especially great win considering they had only recently been in talks to make regulations more strict. With 2019 shaping up to be a pivotal year for the industry, it’s nice to see evidence of a momentum shift.
UAE’s Change Of Heart
The news out of Abu Dhabi last month was a welcome change from the state of the vaping industry in America. According to a report in the Khaleej Times, ESMA or the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, allowed the repeal, citing a growing understanding of their value as well as an effort to curb the illegal market which has developed due to the ban. In effect, they removed the significant roadblocks for legal vaping in the UAE by making several restrictions and requirements looser. Thanks to the decision, the ban is set to be lifted by mid-April. According to many in the vaping community who are familiar with the laws there, many stores will then be able to carry a wide assortment of vaporizers, e-liquids, and coils.
One of the other major reasons for the timing of this move is their current goal of reducing smoking rates across the country. Unlike many other countries which started implementing strict smoking restrictions in the early 90s, the United Arab Emirates has only recently begun their fight. As such, they feel it makes the most sense to leverage useful tools such as vaporizers. However, businesses must follow a set of guidelines in order to qualify for a license to sell vaping products.
Is Vaping Worth It?
The government didn’t go into much detail about what informed their choice, but looking around there’s plenty of research supporting their value. In 2015 we got our first large scale report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to Public Health England. While at the time this was a huge discovery, these days we get results like these every few weeks. Just recently we got a report which concluded cigarette smoke has 93% more toxicants than e-liquid vapor. Finally, researchers reached some incredible conclusions when looking at the cancer risk of vapers vs. smokers. They concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is around 57,000 times higher than demographically similar vapers.
But it’s not just harm reduction value vaporizers provide. We also have a lot of peer-reviewed evidence on the smoking cessation value and impact on teens. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation tools and methods to determine the most successful ones. After collecting all their data, it was clear that vaping was not only useful but more likely to work than anything else. Lastly, we have more research which points to the idea the teenage vaping “epidemic” is being significantly exaggerated by legislators. A poll of over 60,000 students found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever starting to vape regularly, let alone switch to full-blown smoking.
It’s impressive to see a country like the UAE reconsider their stance on vaping. This is especially true when the US vaping industry is currently in turmoil over a litany of growing problems. By taking a good hard look at the evidence and adjusting their policies, the UAE is ensuring that many more smokers will have the tools they need to end their tobacco dependence once and for all. Public perception is still the biggest problem facing the industry, with only around 13% of adults understanding how much safer vaping is compared with smoking. But with smoking still killing more people every year than any other preventable cause, it’s as important as ever to support our best tools, not undermine them.
Is it a shock that the UAE changed its mind about e-cigarettes? Will this change have a positive impact on the vaping industry? What do you think is the best way to teach others about the value of vaping? 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.