UAE bans import of electric cigarettes, tobacco without ‘digital tax stamp’

The ban will come into effect from March 1



Importing any type of waterpipe tobacco or electrically heated cigarette plugs into the UAE that do not bear the ‘digital tax stamps’ will be strictly prohibited from March 1, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has warned.

The decision stipulated that as of March 1, the import of the aforementioned goods not carrying the requisite digital stamps will be prohibited into the UAE, while effective June 1, any supply, transfer, stockpiling, or possession of such unmarked products will be banned too.

The authority urged all producers, importers, and distributors of such products to adhere to the regulations, a statement said.

The digital stamps will facilitate the tracking of these products along the entire value chain from the manufacturing facility till it reaches the end consumer.

The ban has been aligned with the timeline set to launch phase two of the ‘Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme’, in a bid to protect consumers from commercial fraud and low-quality products.

As part of the scheme’s initial phase, the sale or possession of unmarked cigarette packs was banned across all local markets in the UAE as of August 1, 2019.

Read: Importing cigarettes without ‘digital tax stamp’ now prohibited in the UAE

“The scheme supports the FTA’s efforts to collect taxes, combat tax evasion, protect consumers from commercial fraud, prevent the sale of subpar products in local markets, and help protect the environment and public health,” said Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FTA director general.

“The authority is working to implement the system in collaboration with customs agencies and departments of economic development. It relies on advanced, accurate, and efficient electronic procedures to ensure all legislation issued in that regard – which outlined the obligations of both the authority and taxable persons – are implemented and that consumers are protected.”

Producers and importers of all types of waterpipe tobacco and electrically heated cigarette plugs can order the purchase of digital tax stamps from the system operator, once accredited by the authority. The stamps must be placed on the products within the manufacturing facility immediately after packaging – if produced locally – or prior to importing them as specified by the authority.