Oman, a country located between Saudi Arabia and Arabian Sea is set to ban electronic cigarettes and associated vaping products such as e-liquid. Banning e-cigarettes while allowing the sale of traditional tobacco products to continue as usual defies all logic and opens the monarchy up to accusations of hypocrisy. Oman is not a country where vapers can protest about their vaping rights freely. According to many international sources, both legal and political, Oman does not have a good a good human rights track record especially with fundamental facets of modern democracy such as freedom of speech, the right to protest and free assembly.
According to Dr Jawad Ahmed Al Lawati of Department of Non-communicable Diseases Control at the Ministry of Health, the ban on electronic cigarettes has come into effect as there is no evidence that e-cogarettes help to "cure addiction" or are a "better alternative to traditional tobacco products". The Public Authority for Consumer Protection has argued that the ban on vaping products is in public interest. However, it remains perplexing why traditional tobacco products such as shisha tobacco, cigars and cigarettes are not banned and can be bought freely in the country.
Senior Consultant, Al Lawati of the National Tobacco Control Committee further argues that many people are under the wrond impression that electronic cigarettes help them to stop smoking. He argued that vaping is a gateway to smoking for children and adults alike. Al Lawati maintains that e-cigarettes are attempting to normalise smoking, which is a very serious issue in Oman. Oman has a problem with smoking-related diseases and spends around £35 million every year in dealing with smoking-related diseases. Surely, it does not make any medical or political sense to ban a product that was held to be 95% safer than traditional tobacco products by the Public Health England.
Anyone who is found to be importing electronic cigarettes or e-liquid illegally will be given an £870 find for the first offence. Following a second violation, the fine will be doubled. Al Lawati reported that vaping causes "throat irritation" as well as "fast and irregular heartbeat and increases blood pressure".
Any vaper thinking of taking their vaping hardware and e-liquid with them to Oman, should think twice about it. Please note that this blog post is solely our opinion and should not be construed as legal advice.
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