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Dubai Travel Tips

Can I Vape in Dubai?

Girl Vaping

The short answer is yes, you can smoke e-cigarettes, or e-shishas, or e-hookahs in Dubai. There is no law that says that it is illegal to possess one of these devices for your own personal use.

There are a few things, however, that you should be aware of:

1. The sale of electronic smoking devices in Dubai has been banned since 2009. You can, however, buy them, in almost every market and mall. You will also find a wide variety of juices, including the high-end brands popular in the West. Despite the laws, vaping is actually very popular throughout the United Arab Emirates.

There are even websites where you can have e-cigs and vaping juices delivered to your hotel, cash on delivery. One user tells us that he managed to time it to have them delivered to him at the airport once he had cleared customs!

Old-fashioned cigarettes are also widely available, with 200 Malboro costing around the same as 20 Malboro in the UK. That may be good news or bad news, depending on how much you are trying to avoid “real” smoking.

Many well-known Western brands of Nicotine patch, nicotine chewing gums, nicotine lozenges, and plastic cigarette replacements are also widely available.

2. The importation of electronic smoking devices is also banned, so, it is possible that your e-cig could be confiscated as you pass through customs in Dubai. Our users report that the customs staff do not make a fuss or act with hostility when they find them, they simply let you know that they must be confiscated and destroyed. Apparently, they often do not bother to confiscate the accompanying juices.

This happens quite often, so, it might be an idea to bring a cheap one with you, that you are willing to risk losing, and leave your expensive vaping kit at home. Alternatively, just buy a cheap one in Dubai.

Some of our users report that it is sometimes possible to persuade the customs officials not to confiscate your vape if you are merely transitting through Dubai.

A handy tip from air crew flying into Dubai is to carry your e-cigarette on your person because only your bags will be scanned. Air hostesses typically pop them into their bras while going through customs. You may be able to notice this for yourself if you look closely enough.

3. In terms of actual use once you are within Dubai, the same laws that apply to other tobacco products apply to e-cigarettes: you cannot smoke them in cinemas, shopping malls, and other public spaces. You cannot smoke them in houses of worship, educational institutes such as universities and schools, or health and sports facilities.

The fines, if you are caught, mirror the fines for smoking regular cigarettes in these places, around Dh 2000 or USD $550.

Interestingly, you generally can smoke both electronic and traditional cigarettes in hotel bars, which feels wonderfully naughty if you come from one of the many countries that have banned smoking in bars.

Some popular tourist destinations, such as the Burj Khalifa, search guests on their way in. E-cigs are banned there, so, if they find yours they will give you a numbered ticket and hold onto it until you are leaving.

So, a tough environment for vapers but, unlike Thailand, you cannot be deported for it. Stick to vaping outside or in designated smoking areas.

Remember, regardless of destination, the airlines do not permit you to have e-cigarettes, or their batteries, in your checked baggage, you must keep them in your carry-on bag or on your person. Batteries can start fires and that could be a major problem if it breaks out in an unattended area of the plane.

If you are determined to hide your e-cig in your checked baggage, at least remove the battery and keep it in your pocket – having your plane go down in flames is a terrible start to any vacation.

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