Vaping is a worldwide phenomenon. What started as a popular fad in China in the early 2000’s has become a massive industry, with millions of users across the globe. However, the rise of vaping has come with its fair share of skeptics.
Many governing bodies fear the rise of this new product due to its association with smoking, despite evidence that it is significantly less dangerous. This not only spells trouble for vapers as a community, but also has some annoying ramifications for travellers. As a result, there are a number of international e-cigarette laws travellers should be aware of. While we can’t list them all, here are a few of the most popular worldwide destinations.
Mexico is a popular choice amongst travellers. It’s cheap, bursting with culture and awash with natural beauty. But, there are some international e-cigarette laws vapers must be aware of.
The Mexican government has a hard and fast rule on vaping; it is flat-out banned. You will not find any products available for purchasing legally and certainly no e-liquids to top up. Many travellers report no issues getting their e-cigarette through customs and happily vaping away, while others report having it confiscated at customs.
The legal issues are pretty clear, but travellers and holidaymakers alike have taken to forums like TripAdvisor and Reddit to let other vapers know they’ve had no problems; funny looks, sure, but no problems. Basically, vape at your own risk in Mexico.
The FDA has effectively ‘declared war’ on vaping in America. They’ve consistently gone against the advice of modern science to classify e-cigarettes in the same category as tobacco cigarettes. As such, while vaping is legal in the United States, there are some caveats travellers need to be aware of.
While there are no country-wide laws prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes, states have their own regulations. Most have bans in place for closed public places like bars, restaurants and government buildings, but some, like Vermont, have vaping bans in all public places. Check the unique state laws on vaping whenever you travel around the US.
The vaping laws in Norway are very strange. Vaping is not prohibited, but the sale of nicotine products are. As part of a law in Norway designed to curb smoking, no nicotine-based products are allowed into the market. So vaping is legal and you can easily buy nicotine-free e-liquids, but nicotine products are illegal, right? Not exactly.
For resident Norwegians, you can import nicotine products from other countries if you have evidence that proves you are using it for the purpose of giving up smoking. This makes it very difficult for travellers to import their own nicotine-based e-liquids, because you need the word of a doctor to get it through customs. While this is restrictive for those travelling to Norway long-term, those visiting for a short enough time to be able to carry what they need will have no issues. It is not illegal to use nicotine products, just to buy or sell them. Customs are also unlikely to confiscate any nicotine e-liquids you have at the time of entry.
Another country where vaping is technically illegal, Thailand is a sort of grey area when it comes to e-cigarettes. Thailand has a ban on the sale and production of vaping products, as well as a ban on importation of goods. However, those travelling to Thailand with a single e-cigarette are unlikely to be considered as importers of illegal goods.
The law is also well known to not be strictly enforced and travellers are unlikely to receive anything more than a slap on the wrist and confiscated e-cigs if they choose to travel with their gear and the police decide to pay attention. However, as it is technically illegal, you must also consider whether or not you want to risk being on the wrong side of Thailand’s legal force.
A popular choice for travellers, a ban on vaping in Australia, a country known for its tight law enforcement, would be pretty devastating. Happily, however, vaping is very much legal in the land down under. Well, to a point…
While vaping is legal and you can buy all your e-liquids and gear from local sellers, you can’t actually buy any products containing nicotine. The sale and production of e-liquids containing nicotine is illegal in Australia, which spells trouble for vapers who use e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking. However, all is not lost. It is not illegal to import e-liquids containing nicotine to Australia. So, bring what you need, or be prepared to purchase stocks online if you are travelling long-term.
A popular stop on European tours, Germany is a great place to soak up culture and enjoy some amazing food. Happily, it is also a place that vapers can puff away to their heart’s content. You won’t find any harsh international e-cigarette laws here. Vaping in Germany is very relaxed and isn’t even restricted to over 18s.
Vaping in South Africa is thriving. The market is growing and travellers can expect plain sailing when visiting this beautiful corner of the world. For now.
Those that are planning on visiting South Africa in the future, be warned, as the health authorities are gunning for e-cigarettes. Like the FDA, they want to put e-cigarettes in the same category as tobacco products. While there are no international e-cigarette laws you need to concern yourself with as of 2017, things may change in the future, given the current flow of conversation. Keep an eye of vaping laws in South Africa if you are travelling there soon.
Have you encountered any issues e-cig whilst travelling abroad? Share in the comments.