Last updated: July 19, 2021
The United Arab Emirates became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 5, 2006.
Smoke Free Places
The law prohibits smoking in certain enclosed public spaces and public transport. Some of these places and means of transport may have designated smoking areas, but healthcare, educational, and sports facilities and places of worship shall not have smoking areas. With respect to outdoor places, areas adjacent to educational, health, and sports facilities; places of worship; and industrial facilities are smoke free.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
Tobacco advertising is prohibited in all print and electronic media, including at the point-of-sale. Free and discounted tobacco products also are prohibited, but some point of sale product display and tobacco product brand stretching are allowed. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
Health warnings are pictorial and text and cover no less than 50 percent of the bottom of tobacco product packaging’s main display areas (e.g., front and back). The government rotates the warnings “as required by the public interest.” Misleading terms such as “light” and “low tar” are prohibited on tobacco packaging, but other misleading packaging (e.g., colors, numbers, and symbols) is not prohibited.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law regulates specified contents of cigarettes, including restricting the use of certain herbs, spices, and other flavorings. The law requires that manufacturers disclose to government authorities information on the contents of their products.
The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products near schools, places of worship, and via vending machines and the internet. In addition, there are some restrictions at the sub-national level on the sale of certain types of smokeless tobacco. However, there are no restrictions on the sale of single cigarettes or small packs of cigarettes. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.
The sale of e-cigarettes is allowed subject to restrictions on flavors, other ingredients, and nicotine concentration and product standards. A text-only health warning is required to cover 50% of the front and back of e-cigarette packaging.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
Federal Law No. 15 Regarding Tobacco Control is the principal law governing tobacco control in the United Arab Emirates. The Act is comprehensive and provides for restrictions on smoking in public places; restrictions on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; health warnings on packaging and labeling, among other areas. Standard Specifications of the United Arab Emirates, Adopting GSO 246/2011 on Labeling of Tobacco Product Packages (UAE.S/GSO 246:2011) implement the health warning provisions of the law. Cabinet Decision No. 24 of 2013 Concerning the Implementation Regulation for the Federal Tobacco Control Act also implements the Act and provides further details regarding the smoke free and advertising, promotion and sponsorship provisions of the law. The Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA) issued UAE.S 5030:2018 to regulate e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. The standard includes provisions regulating devices, e-liquids, disclosure requirements, and packaging and labeling.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff. No in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts reviewed our analysis.