Dubai legalized e-cigarettes in 2019. Since then, it has turned into a lucrative industry. In 2023, the e-cigarette industry generated a revenue of $59.38 million. It is expected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 9.41% until 2027.
The use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, has increased lately. People are using them as a smoking alternative or smoking cessation. Due to the growing demand, many new businesses are registering for e-cigarette licenses to enter the booming market.
Therefore, the Dubai government, under the Dubai Economic Development (DED), launched the operation "Electronic Cigarette & Accessory Trade" under the class "Tobacco and Smoking Accessories Trade.
To enter the Dubai vaping industry, you must have a solid understanding of the compliance requirements and regulations associated with e-cigarette trading.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the process of acquiring an e-cigarette license in Dubai, highlighting the crucial steps and requirements you must be aware of.
What is E-Cigarette License Registration
To start an e-cigarette business, it is necessary to obtain an E-Cigarette and Accessory Trade License. The UAE has its own regulatory body that provides licenses for selling e-cigarettes called the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA). Once licensed by ESMA, the items can be sold anywhere and do not require further approvals.
Obtain the E-Cigarette Commercial Trading License
The first step is to apply for the e-cigarette commercial trading license. You will receive this license from the Department of Economic Development or the Dubai Health Authority in the Mainland. This license is crucial to apply for ESMA approval.
The process might be a little different if you want to start your vape business in a free zone. The license applications in free zones are handled by their respective free zone authorities and not DED.
However, Avyanco can help you in both scenarios to make the process smoother.
How to get an ESMA Certification in UAE? or How to start a Tobacco Trading or electronic cigarette trading business in Dubai.
Without ESMA’s approval, your e-cigarette business will not be legalized. Hence, getting an ESMA certificate is one of the most essential steps in starting a vaping business in Dubai.
An e-cigarette license indicates that your products meet the standards and regulations set by the UAE government. It ensures that the products are safe and adhere to quality guidelines. Operating without ESMA approval not only exposes your business to legal penalties but also risks the health and safety of consumers.
Here we present to you the exact steps to receive an e-cigarette license in Dubai -
Certificate of Free Sales
The first step in your journey is to obtain the Certificate of Free Sales issued by the health authorities or relevant government bodies from the country of origin. This certificate indicates that your products comply with international quality and safety standards.
License from the Dubai Municipality
Before applying to the ESMA, you must obtain a permit from the Municipality of Dubai (DM). It is a requirement that legalizes your business operations and shows your commitment to legal business operations.
After getting the certificate and license, you must submit an e-form for ESMA approval. In this form, you must provide all the necessary details about your product and business.
Required Documents Preparation
Now, you must prepare all the required documents. These documents include -
- Copy of the Certificate of Free Sales
- Copy of your trade license
- Product Analysis Report that contains all the essential ingredients, chemical and physical characteristics of the products
- Laboratory research report on the product
- Company registration certificate
Get the Certificate
Once the e-form and required documents are submitted, ESMA will prepare a consumer product registration report. ESMA will provide feedback on the report’s status consistently. You will receive the certificate once the report is complete.
Requirements to Register E-Cigarette Business with ESMA
You must follow the UAE guidelines for electronic cigarette product businesses for a smooth registration process. ESMA has established strict requirements to ensure the safety and quality of these products.
For ECAS Certification regarding tobacco labels and products
You have to consider the following for registering an e-cigarette business with ESMA -
- Must have a valid commercial license
- Must have trademark registration with UAE authorities
- The manufacturing plant must apply the QMS Manual to follow minimum specifications (ISO 9001)
- Name mark certificate, ECAS (Emirates Enforcement Assessment Scheme)
- A laboratory test report in the UAE for the specified materials mentioned in clause 4.1.11, conducted by an ISO 17025-certified laboratory like S GSO 597, will remain valid for a duration of up to one year and not exceed this timeframe
- IEC CB Test Reports and Certificates as per standard No. UAE S. GSO IEC 60335-1.
- ISO 9001:2015 Certificate from Manufacturer
You must also require access to the following materials -
- Ethylene Glycol
- Diethyl Glycol
- Nicotine composition
There are several other requirements as well -
- Data regarding dosage and nicotine consumption under standard or reasonably anticipated conditions
- Validation of product label's expiration date
- Submission of manufacturer's risk mitigation report
- Analyzing heavy metal levels, such as lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, nickel, iron, fluoride, and tin
- Verification of distributor ownership (for traders)
- Compilation of ingredient list in descending order, featuring percentages, trade names, functionalities, emissions, toxicity, and supporting literature data
- Device battery test report as per standard No. UAE S. GSO IEC 62133-1 and 2 and standard GSO IEC 60086-4 (if the device has batteries)
- Battery Charger Test Report as per IEC 60335-2-29 from Accredited laboratory (if applicable)
- Each flavor profile, framework, or nicotine intensity must possess an individual test report.
- Inclusion of product's score label images
- Provision of user guides in both English and Arabic
- Presentation of the production cycle profile along with a flowchart
- A complete test report will be furnished during the renewal process
- Asserting manufacturing claims regarding the exclusion of restricted materials detailed in section 4.1.11 of UAE standards
- Notification of conformity with the GSO ISO 8317 UAE standard, ensuring child-safe packaging
Cost of starting a vape business in Dubai
The initial cost of starting a vape business in Dubai can be substantial, including registration fees, license costs, certification charges, and other business setup costs.
It can cost anywhere from AED 15,000 to AED 25,000, depending on factors such as the number of visas in your application, additional government approvals, and your business location.
You must conduct a thorough financial analysis to ensure you're prepared for all the required expenses. The initial investment may seem substantial, but it's crucial to view it as an investment for the long-term growth of your business.
The reputation and credibility gained through legal compliance will undoubtedly outweigh the upfront costs.
Documents requirements for operating E-Cigarette Business in Dubai
The documents required for your e-cigarette business license include:
- Trade License from the Dubai Municipality
- ESMA Certification
- Certificate of Free Sales
- Product Information, including ingredient details
- Passport copies of business owners and partners
- Lease agreement for your business premises
- NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the landlord
Benefits of starting a vape business in the UAE
Starting a vape business in Dubai comes with multiple advantages.
Market Demand - Smoking cessation is a significant factor in Dubai, and vape businesses are growing in demand. Hence, there is a lucrative market.
The market is still fresh and growing at a fantastic rate. Even though the industry is regulated, the company incorporation procedure is simple and quick.
100% Ownership - UAE also offers 100% foreign ownership, a significant advantage for foreigners looking to establish their business and enjoy lower tax rates.
Tax Benefits - The corporate tax in Dubai is just 9%, whereas the personal income tax remains 0%.
In a nutshell, the Dubai e-cigarette market offers promising opportunities. However, these opportunities come with the responsibility of legal compliance. An EMSA license is a legal requirement and a step toward creating a reputable and successful business venture.
Follow the UAE guidelines correctly to avoid any trouble during the registration process. The steps in this guide will help you launch an e-cigarette license in Dubai that will meet consumer demands and follow all ethical and legal guidelines.
How Avyanco Business Setup can help you with E-Cigarette product registration in the UAE?
Avyanco can help you with all the legal formalities in setting up your vaping business in Dubai. Avyanco assists you with obtaining an ESMA and trade license from Dubai Municipality. We also provide end-to-end services to help you manage your business and ensure compliance with all the relevant authorities in Dubai.