Embassy issues travel advice for e-cigarette users who risk heavy fines or prison
UAE residents warned against vaping in Thailand
Emirati officials have warned UAE residents not to use e-cigarettes if they are visiting Thailand.
A tweet from the UAE Embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday warned tourists that the Thai authorities may punish anyone caught using an e-cigarette with a fine or even jail.
Thailand is among the most popular destinations for holidaymakers from the UAE.
It is also a major hub for medical tourists seeking cheaper health treatment, given services can be a third of the cost.
The country is rated in the top ten global medical tourism destinations, with Bangkok Hospital attracting 20,708 UAE-based patients in 2017.
Legislation was first drafted in to outlaw the import of e-cigarettes into Thailand in 2014.
That has since been rolled out to also ban exports and the sale of all e-cigarettes devices and related paraphernalia anywhere in the country.
In the UAE the authorities regulate e-cigarettes in the same manner as counterfeit luxury goods - selling the products is illegal but buying or using them is not.
E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid usually containing nicotine and flavourings, with the resulting vapour then inhaled.
Although advocated as a useful tobacco quitting aid in some countries such as the UK, the long term health damage is unclear.
The US Food and Drug Administration is considering restricting sales of most flavoured e-cigarettes and introducing strict age verification portals for online sellers.
The move comes after a reported ‘epidemic’ of underage vaping and the boom in popular products like Juul, a device the size of a USB memory stick used to inhale nicotine pods.
The UAE’s government consumer watchdog – the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) – is said to be reviewing data on alternative tobacco products ahead of potential product regulation.