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What You Need To Know About Vaping In Saudi Arabia

posted on: Feb 6, 2020

AP Photo/Amr Nabil

Saudi Arabia actively tries to reduce the national smoking rate. Cultural practices, as well as religious beliefs, create a sound base for government initiatives. By 2030, the Kingdom aims to narrow down the percentage of smoking people to 5%, as per WHO standards. However, with the vaping trend, it becomes harder to implement this initiative. Even with the current vaping ban in the country, the local population finds ways to get electronic cigarettes. This article answers most of the vaping-related questions people traveling to Saudi Arabia need to be aware of.

The State Of Vaping In The Country

Saudi Arabia, as a rest of the world, is engaged in the rising vaping trend. The Saudi citizens used to smoke, despite this habit being considered taboo. According to the Saudi Diabetes and Endocrine Association, the number of smokers in the country has reached more than 5 million people. It also predicts that this number will rise to 10 million by 2020.

Recently, many Saudis have started switching to vaping because of the comparatively lower health risks. While some do this as a means of battling their addiction, others, especially youth, see vaping as a cool alternative to smoking. And by the way, such devices as Juuls and vapingdaily 510 thread vape pens rise are on top of popularity because of their flavored juices.

The research has shown that vaping is popular mostly among the educated, employed, or studying males. Similarly to smoking, vaping is culturally unacceptable among females in Saudi Arabia. That’s why there are almost no women with an electronic cigarette in the country.

Is Vaping Legal In Saudi Arabia?

Electronic cigarettes fall into a grey area in the whole Middle East. When speaking about the legality of vaping in Saudi Arabia, the answer is not so definitive. According to Saudi legislation, the vapes are classified as reduced-risk products (RRPs). There are two sides of the issue: personal use and sale & distribution.

In regards to personal use, vaping is legal. That means that the country’s citizens, as well as the tourists, can vape in the Kingdome. However, there are several restrictions on vaping in public places such as educational institutions, religious establishments (including mosques and saints’ memorials ), and cultural sites. Also, the law partly limits e-cigarettes use in private spaces, too. For example, no one is allowed to vape in elevators, restrooms, or food production facilities. Lastly, there is an age restriction that forbids anyone below 18 to use e-cigarettes.

The tourists who plan a trip to Saudi Arabia are safe to bring their e-cigarette devices with them. There is no restriction on the type of the invention, so a 510 thread vape pen, which becomes increasingly popular, is also allowed.

At the same time, any e-cigarette related commercial activity is against the law. In September 2015, the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Commerce and Investment banned the sale of all vaping devices and related products, including cartridges, oils, and best 510 thread batteries. Advertising activity in all media such as press, TV, and billboards is not permitted as well. The law prohibits the import of vaping products in the country from abroad for retailing purposes. Anyone who is engaged in this illegal activity will be fined, and all the items will be confiscated. For foreign citizens, it may end up with deportation and possible travel ban to Saudi Arabia.

How The Saudi Citizens Get Around The Ban

Even though there is no legal possibility to buy e-cigarettes in the Kingdome, people find the loopholes to get these items. In most cases, the international shipment of vapes, as well as the best 510 thread battery for cartridges, is not an option. The users point out that their packages do not even arrive at the destination, and they do not get any notification why. More than likely that the customs service confiscates such items. Hopefully, those who order e-cigarettes internationally are not fined. The only chance to receive an order is if the shipment is under the radar.

There are also vape shops which work in the country. Their shops have no physical sites and are only accessible online. They can be found on the Internet or such social media like Instagram. Of course, these shops operate illegally, and everyone who tries to buy e-cigarettes in this way risk a run-in with the law. In any case, such shops have a wide range of products from vape mods to oils & cartridges to best 510 batteries. It is reported that the delivery is carried out directly to the customer’s place, and payment is by cash. This caution keeps a buyer’s and seller’s anonymity.

Because the government bans any sale of vaping products, the risk of getting unlicensed or bad-quality e-cigarette devices is high. Some of the neighboring countries have adopted not such strict laws on vaping. The regulation in Bahrain and Kuwait is low: e-cigarettes there are allowed only under the name of “e-shisha.” Oman and Qatar have no regulation at all. As a result, Bahrain has become the number one country for sourcing vaping equipment and accessories by smugglers. Unfortunately, many Saudi citizens employ smuggling services and risk not only to be caught, but they also endanger their health.

The Future Of Vaping In Saudi Arabia

The current regulation on vaping products makes the sale of e-cigarette and related items against the law. However, the situation may change, considering government initiatives in 2019. The General Authority of Zakat and Tax expanded the list of the products which fall under an individual 100% excise tax. The new corrections included electronic cigarettes, among other products. The reason for a tax is an aim to increase the revenues of the non-oil industries after a decrease in global oil prices. These steps give a little, but quite possible, hope that the government considers an opportunity to switch from banning to regulating vape sales in the future.