Premium vaping brand RELX has officially launched in the Kingdom as more Saudi youth are resorting to e-cigarettes.
The vaping products are also available in the UAE and Kuwait, and signal RELX's intention to expand into the rest of the Middle East and North Africa this year.
The launch comes as concerns are increasing about the popularity of vaping, with one medical expert telling Arab News the practice should not be seen as a healthier alternative to cigarettes.
Dr. Abdulaziz Sallam, a consultant in emergency medicine at Saudi Airlines Medical Services, said: “E-cigarettes and vape devices are not an alternative to quitting smoking because they are harmful to the body just as cigarettes are because they also contain nicotine."
He also warned against other dangers posed by electronic smoking devices. “Some devices [may] explode and cause facial injuries,” he said, adding: “It also could cause different types of cancers, bronchitis, obstructive lung disease and could affect arteries and cause cardiovascular harm."
Due to the growing trend of e-cigarettes, Saudi Arabia has announced new regulations, similar to those in Europe, governing the standards to be adopted for e-cigarette packaging and labeling.
Commenting on the launch of the brand in the Kingdom, Fouad Barakat, KSA general manager at RELX International, said: “The MENA region is one of our category’s fastest-growing markets, growing at a rate just short of 10 percent until 2024. Saudi Arabia is one of the region’s largest and most prosperous markets, hence the need for any brand to launch there if it wants to thrive and grow bigger.”
Saudi vape user Sulaiman Mukhtar said: “After quitting smoking cigarettes, I’ve always been on the search for a more trustworthy vape product. Hearing about a premium brand that’s launched in Saudi Arabia brings me comfort in choosing a better product to use as it eases quitting smoking in general.”
A female Saudi vape user, who wished to remain anonymous, said she has heard about the brand before and is excited about its launch in the Kingdom.
“I quit smoking cigarettes a couple of years ago and turned to vape because of its fruity flavors. It’s been hard to find good brands here lately so hearing that a high-standard vape brand like RELX is coming to the Kingdom is going to enhance the vaping experience for so many people.”
Despite its growing global popularity, the World Health Organization discourages the use of e-cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
ENDS emissions generally contain nicotine and other hazardous compounds that are harmful to both users and others who are exposed to secondhand vapors.