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Middle East importers defy prohibition in a growing illegal market

E-cigarettes are growing in popularity in the Middle East as people rush to acquire them as aids to quit smoking – even though they are prohibited throughout most of the region.

E-cigs are banned in some form in at least nine Middle Eastern jurisdictions. Some have banned both nicotine-free and nicotine e-cigs, while others require a pharmaceutical licence for nicotine sales. All nine effectively make the sale of nicotine e-cigs illegal.

Nevertheless, a large number of online stores in the region sell vaping products, either through social media pages or on retail websites, and owners speak of circumventing “unjust laws”.

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