UAE: Vapes should never be sold to teens, experts warn

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Reuters file photo
Reuters file photo

Dubai - Some kids have been found to be buying vaping products online.


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Sat 24 Jul 2021, 2:31 PM

Last updated: Sat 24 Jul 2021, 2:34 PM

Vape sellers and traders in the UAE must do more to make sure electronic cigarettes are not sold to minors, top industry experts and doctors have said.

Retailers and enthusiasts told Khaleej Times that with a rapidly growing vaping industry, the sale of counterfeit and unregulated products to users under-21 has become rampant across the region.

Most legitimate retailers in the UAE have a clear policy not to sell vaping products to a customer until a government-issued identification document is provided.

“However, kids are getting creative. We’ve had instances where a child orders a product online, and during delivery, it is collected by either an older sibling or a household worker,” said Hisham Al Shabib, CEO of the Bahrain-based Sams Vape.

“We can only exercise so much caution, but the parents need to keep a watchful eye on their child’s online shopping behaviour,” he added.

At another popular store, My Vapery, IDs are mandatory.

“When people come to buy from our shops, we ask for IDs. If we feel that they are underage, we make it mandatory that they show their IDs, no matter how much they demand the product,” said Atif Amin, My Vapery’s marketing manager.

“We are cautious to guard against underage sales at locations where young people gather in large numbers, like Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence and Kite Beach,” he added.

“It is vital that we work together closely to prevent e-cigarettes from being sold to underage consumers.”

Children under 18 often get attracted to vaping products as it is sold in attractive packaging with tasty, fruity flavours. E-cigarettes and related products have also become readily available, with some on display even at gas stations.

Doctors and experts are insisting that under no circumstance must it be sold to kids.

Dr Abdal Karim Nasaar, a pulmonologist at Burjeel Speciality Hospital in Sharjah, said: “For kids, it is toxic to the lungs and the heart, and it is highly addictive. Vape use among kids can affect their brain development and function. It hampers their ability to pay attention and concentrated and it may cause memory and learning issues.”

Dr Nasaar said that although adults are using it as an alternative to smoking, the same rule of thumb does not apply to young children.

“Parents need to monitor their child’s behaviour. Spend quality time with them and ensure they are in good company. They need to educate kids about the dangers of e-cigarettes.”

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