November 24, 2010 - Back on August 21, 2009 the Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Municipality said that it will recommend a ban on electronic cigarettes, as tests carried out by the municipality have found the electronic device to be a health hazard which contains carcinogens and toxic materials. 'There is general agreement in the GCC Tobacco Control Committee that e-cigarettes should not be circulated in the [Gulf] market as therapy,' Dr Wedad Al Maidoor, head of Tobacco Control Team at the MoH has said. (Dubai to push e-cigarette ban, AMEInfo.com, 8/19/2009) (Dubai, UAE customs blocks e-cigarette shipment..)
GCC states (Gulf Cooperation Council includes: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the Sultanate of Oman) and other Middle Eastern and African countries.
Now following the UAE example, a number of GCC countries are considering a ban on the electronic cigarette citing health concerns. Health officials have warned that the smokeless stick that burns up to provide a kick to smokers is as harmful to health as the tobacco-filled cigarette.
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The e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine or non-nicotine vaporised solution as an alternative to smoked tobacco products. The e-cigarette was banned in the UAE two years ago though in some GCC countries, it is available on prescription, said Dr Wedad Maidoor, Head of the Tobacco Control Committee at the health ministry.
The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) laboratory analysis of electronic cigarette samples had found that they contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze. (FDA: Electronic cigarettes contain toxic chemicals..)
“There is no scientific paper to prove that the e-cigarette is any less harmful to health,” she said after the decision was taken during a recently held meeting of the Gulf Committee for Tobacco Control in Riyadh. She also said that a sample test of the e-cigarettes by Dubai Municipality had found them to contain ingredients harmful to health.
“In Bahrain, the e-cigarette is available on prescription but we are trying to push for total ban,” she added.
A unified tobacco control law across the GCC countries is also being drafted. The first draft of the Model Law on Tobacco Control, which is prepared by the regional office of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Kuwait was also presented at the at the meeting.
Reference: More GCC countries plan ban on smokeless puff, Asma Ali Zain (firstname.lastname@example.org), KhaleejTimes.com, 11/21/2010.