What is the legal situation of Vapes and E-Cigarettes in Pakistan, and What are the current laws covering this subject.

As E-cigarettes continue to gain popularity in Pakistan, many wonder about their legal status in the country. We have had many queries from new users looking to switch to this safer alternative to smoking. Therefore, we decided to give this issue some attention and make things as clear as possible.

What are the laws regarding vaping in Pakistan?

First of all, there is no official government policy in Pakistan that covers this topic. Let’s have a look at the current situation in Pakistan.

Currently, there are numerous online and physical vape shops operating in Pakistan selling vaping devices and e-liquids along with other e-cigarette related supplies and accessories. Since no laws are covering or regulating such businesses, most stores are operating trouble-free so far.

ALL vape stores in Pakistan have an age policy, where they do not serve customers under the age of 18. Most require a valid form of identification if the retailer feels that the user is underage.

Why should Pakistan continue to allow electronic cigarettes?

As the vaping trend continues to grow in Pakistan, many worry about the legal future of vaping in Pakistan. So far, there is enough evidence to suggest that vaping is way safer than tobacco smoking. Many countries worldwide have allowed and regulated electronic cigarettes, citing their reduced harmfulness compared with tobacco.

Additionally, since there is a Shisha ban all over Pakistan introduced due to serious health concerns posed by shisha smoke, vaping is now seen as a safer option.

In tobacco smoke, we find thousands of harmful chemicals; electronic cigarette vapours carry just a few chemicals. Tobacco gives out smoke; electronic cigarettes give out clean vapours!

Pakistan has a considerable smoking population, and hundreds of thousands die every year due to cancer caused by tobacco smoke. Therefore, electronic cigarettes are an ideal opportunity for people to quit the dangerous habit of smoking and switch to vaping.

The government of Pakistan spends billions every year on its health services, and a lot of that money goes to tobacco users’ health care. If people start making a switch, fewer people will contract such diseases, namely cancer, reducing strain on the government’s pocket.

In many western countries, doctors continue to argue that vaping is one of the safest alternatives to smoking and should be prescribed to users looking to quit the smelly and unhealthy habit of smoking.

However, the big tobacco industry continues to lobby against electronic cigarettes, as they fear losing out on their big business, which risks the lives of thousands of users.

Shisha Vs Vape – What is the difference between the two.

The most common question a vaper is asked today when spotted vaping.
“is it a shisha?”

so, let’s be clear: SHISHA IS NOT THE SAME AS A VAPE

Shisha uses tobacco flavours and gets the heat to burn that flavour with the help of charcoal, which results in the shisha smoke being polluted with thousands of harmful and toxic chemicals, at levels not safe for human use. On the other hand, vaping devices use vegetable glycerine & propylene glycol as their main ingredient, using food flavours. Nicotine is always optional, depending on the user’s needs.

So far, studies have been evident that the vapours from an electronic cigarette are 98% safer than tobacco cigarettes and Shisha since there is no carbon monoxide along with other dangerous chemicals that are highly poisonous. There is, however, a widespread misconception that nicotine is the main reason that makes cigarettes and Shisha harmful.

Well, that’s far from the truth. Nicotine is not as harmful as we think it is and is not the main cancer-causing compound found in tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke contains many harmful chemicals, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (benzopyrene), tobacco-specific nitrosamines (NNK, NNN), aldehydes (acrolein, formaldehyde), carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, benzene, toluene, phenols (phenol, cresol), aromatic amines (nicotine, ABP (4-Aminobiphenyl)), and harmala alkaloids. The radioactive element polonium-210 is also known to occur in tobacco smoke. The chemical composition of smoke depends on puff frequency, intensity, volume, and duration at different stages of cigarette consumption. None of which is present in vape clouds.

So if you are looking to quit the filthy tobacco smoking habit and move to a safer alternative to smoking, vaping is your best bet!

Electronic cigarettes are not the same as Hookah.

Since 2015, Pakistan has wholly banned the commercial use of Shisha. The ban targeted shisha café’s and bars, citing severe health-related concerns. Most of the government’s concerns were true since Shisha uses charcoal and tobacco, burning at great heat and leaving out thousands of toxic chemicals to the user’s lungs.

Additionally, since 2017, authorities further extended the ban to import and sell any shisha-related supplies.

How to quit smoking through vaping electronic cigarettes.

With electronic cigarettes gaining popularity over the last decades, many smokers have successfully quit the smelly smoking habit in favour of clean e-cigarette vapours. Although a simple approach is to stop smoking and move to vape, many find this approach very difficult, especially long-term users, who have developed a powerful addiction to tobacco smoke and revert to smoking within a few days of trying.

Therefore, we recommend a step by step approach to make it an easy and pleasant journey towards a clean and healthy lifestyle.

We recommend starting with Pod Kits, also known as MTL vapes. These devices are made with a smoker in mind and mimick the draw and nicotine similar to a cigarette.

You can couple your pod kit with nicotine salt e-liquid, which are available in a wide variety of flavours and nicotine strengths.

How can Pakistan benefit from Electronic Cigarettes as a safe alternative to tobacco smoking?

As per reports, Pakistanis smoke 177 million cigarettes every day. Smoking resulted in thousands of premature deaths and numerous diseases and illnesses. Smoking-related illnesses are placing a burden on an already undersupplied health system.

So far, the evidence suggests that vaping is much safer than smoking; since Pakistan has a very high consumption of cigarettes, many are now making a switch for good.

With a reduced number of smokers, there is a very positive chance that more people with continue to switch to safer alternatives to smoking.

Vaping Scene in Pakistan.

Pakistan has one of the biggest smoker populations in the World. The World Health Organisation reports millions of deaths in the country attributed to tobacco smoking. With rising awareness among the youth of Pakistan, particularly, those who reside in urban areas, more and more users are willing to quit cigarettes.

However, with a lack of government-supported programmes helping the youth quit, many users are left with no option but to continue smoking. With the recent introduction to the Pakistani market, electronic cigarettes, also called vapes, have gained popularity in Pakistan. They now function as the primary alternative to smoking. Already, thousands of users have made a successful transition to e-cigarettes, which is a much safer alternative to smoking.

Increased purchasing power, western influence, proximity to China, which is the largest supplier of e-cigarettes globally, have all contributed to the rise in the use of electronic cigarettes. The availability of affordable vape starter kits has also allowed more smokers to make a switch.

Walking around the urban centres, including but not limited to Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad & Rawalpindi. One can spot a lot of users vaping instead of smoking.

Additionally, like-minded individuals frequently meet vape shops located in almost all major cities of Pakistan, where they tend to socialize and connect with like-minded individuals.

The legal situation of Vaping in other countries

The legal status of e-cigarettes is currently pending in many countries. Judging by the following countries, it is safe to assume that electronic cigarettes are widely legal but primarily regulated in major world economies.
Following is a list of countries or regions where Electronic cigarettes and nicotine e-liquids are either legally allowed, legal, de facto legal, or without much regulation.

Disclaimer: The legal situation related to electronic cigarettes is evolving rapidly, and things may change with time. We bear no liability with relation to the information provided. For up to date information, check with the official government websites in the respective. jurisdictions

European Union:

Legal and Regulated

In February 2014, the European Parliament passed regulations requiring standardization and quality control for liquids and vaporizers, disclosing ingredients in e-liquids, and child-proofing and tamper-proofing for liquid packaging. In April 2014, the FDA published proposed regulations for e-cigarettes. Some states tax e-cigarettes as tobacco products in the US, and some state and regional governments have broadened their indoor smoking bans to include e-cigarettes.[19] As of October 9 2015, at least 48 states and two territories banned e-cigarette sales to minors.

USA:

Legal and Regulated

As per USA (federal law) Effective August 8, 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates electronic cigarettes products to be regulated as tobacco products. The FDA rule also bans sales to minors. The FDA classified e-cigarettes as drug delivery devices and subject to regulation under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) before importation and sale in the US – (for state laws we suggest you visit the state’s website for more detailed understanding of each state, since state laws in USA can vary substantially).

Canada:

Defacto Legal.

In Canada, they are technically illegal to sell, as Health Canada approves no nicotine-containing e-cigarette, but this is generally unenforced and they are commonly available for sale Canada-wide.

United Kingdom

Legal and Regulated

In the United Kingdom, the use, sale and advertising of e-cigarettes are legal, and e-cigarettes are not covered by laws restricting smoking in public places. However, businesses may choose to ban e-cigarettes as well. A notable example is “Transport for London”, banning smoking and vaping as their Conditions of Carriage. Most trains (and train platforms), airports, and coaches for public transportation have prohibited the use of e-cigarettes. Effective October 1 2015, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes or e-liquids to minors. In 2014 the government announced legislation would be brought forward to outlaw the purchase of e-cigarettes by people under the age of 18. In October 2014, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority changed the regulations on e-cigarette advertising, allowing the devices to appear in TV ads from November 10

United Arab Emirates

Ban lifted in April 2019

UAE was among the first few countries in the World to ban electronic cigarettes. Including import and sale.
However, with the global change in attitude towards vaping, UAE reclassified it as a safer alternative to smoking. After months of debates discussions, UAE has finally allowed the sale and import of Vaping devices and nicotine e-liquids.
Sales will be legalized with standards in place for products, according to The National. Vapes will also carry health warnings similar to those on cigarette packages, and sales will probably be age-restricted like combustible products. Public use will be regulated by the government precisely as it is for cigarettes.

Legal status of Electronic cigarettes in other countries:

  • Armenia – Allowed – Not Regulated
  • Australia – Legal – Regulated
  • Austria – Legal – Regulated
  • Belgium – Legal – Regulated
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – Allowed – Not Regulated
  • Bulgaria – Allowed – Not Regulated
  • Croatia – Legal – Regulated
  • Czech Republic – Legal – Regulated
  • Denmark – Legal – Highly Regulated
  • Estonia – Legal – Regulated (previously illegal – ban removed)
  • Finland – Legal – Highly Regulated
  • France – Legal – Regulated
  • Georgia – Legal – Regulated
  • Germany – Legal – Regulated
  • Gibraltar – Legal – Regulated
  • Greece – Legal – Highly Regulated
  • Hong Kong – No clear information.
  • Hungary – Legal – Regulated
  • India – De facto Legal.
  • Ireland – Allowed – Not Regulated
  • Israel – Legal – Regulated
  • Italy – Legal – Highly Regulated
  • Latvia – Legal – Not Regulated
  • Liechtenstein – Legal – Regulated (same as swiss law)
  • Lithuania – Legal – Regulated
  • Luxembourg – Legal – Highly Regulated
  • Malaysia – Legal – Regulated
  • Malta – Legal – Regulated
  • Mexico – Legal – Regulated (previously illegal – ban removed)
  • Nepal – Legal – Not Regulated
  • Netherlands – Legal – Regulated
  • New Zealand – Legal – Regulated
  • Norway – Legal – Highly Regulated
  • Philippines – Legal – Not Regulated
  • Poland – Legal – Highly Regulated
  • Portugal – Legal – Highly Regulated
  • Romania – Legal – Regulated
  • Russia – Allowed – Not Regulated
  • South Korea – Legal – Highly Regulated
  • Spain – Legal – Regulated
  • Sweden – Legal – Regulated
  • Switzerland – Legal – Regulated
  • Turkey – Legal – Partially Regulated

As we can see, the sale and use of electronic cigarettes and e-liquids (nicotine or without) are either legal or unregulated in most of the World. There are, however, several countries where such substances are either banned or highly restricted. Some of these countries are as follows.

Vaping Banned or Highly Restricted:

  • Brazil
  • Singapore
  • Seychelles
  • Uruguay
  • Argentina
  • Bahrain
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Panama
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Thailand

The UAE has allowed the sale and import of Vaping devices and nicotine E-liquids from April 2019; other GCC countries will likely follow soon.