While vaping may be fine in your home country, there are parts of the globe where owning an e-cigarette can land you in serious trouble. Ever since the World Health Organisation published a study which claimed that e-cigarettes may not help smokers kick the habit, several countries have clamped down on their use.
Just recently, Cambodia, parts of India, Lebanon, Philippines and Vietnam, issued strict vaping bans which will see harsh penalties imposed on those who flout the law. In a puff of smoke, travellers could see their trip of a lifetime turn into a holiday from hell.
Thailand has some of the world’s strictest vaping laws and travellers caught with an e-cigarette can face up to ten years in prison. The laws are also especially strict in Singapore, Brunei and Taiwan.
There are plenty of grey areas around vaping laws and while you may have heard claims from fellow travellers that they encountered no such issues while bringing e-cigarettes intro countries where they’re banned, it is never worth the risk. Legislation around e-cigarettes can differ dramatically from country to country so it’s worth doing your homework ahead of travel. To get you started, here’s a list of countries that have made vaping illegal:
Argentina: Vaping has been banned in Argentina since 2011. You cannot legally purchase, sell or import e-cigarettes and even nicotine-free e-cigarettes are banned.
Brazil: The Brazilian government banned the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in 2014. Fines have been known to be handed out for any product confiscated.
Brunei: E-cigarettes have been illegal in Brunei in 2010. Anyone caught using a vaping device in a no-smoking area can be fined $300 (€256) if it is their first offence or $500 (€427) for a subsequent offence. Personal use is not specifically outlawed but travellers are advised to exercise caution.
Cambodia: E-cigarettes have been banned since 2014.
Egypt: While there are lots of grey areas surrounding the law, e-cigarettes have been banned since 2015 and they can be confiscated at customs.
India: E-cigarettes are banned in six states, including Jammu, Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra, and Kerala. The laws are strictly enforced in these states. In 2016, a man was sentenced to three years in prison and fined for allegedly selling and using vapes in Punjab.
Indonesia: Although travellers have reported that e-cigarettes are openly available for purchase in tourist areas and a number of e-cigarette cafes openly operate in Bali, vaping is banned in Indonesia.
Jordan: E-cigarettes, including those without nicotine, have been banned since 2009.
Lebanon: E-cigarettes have been banned since 2016.
Oman: While some expats report that personal use is still permitted, e-cigarettes have been banned since 2012.
Qatar: E-cigarettes have been banned since 2014 and cannot be brought into the country.
Malaysia: The laws around vaping in Malaysia can be confusing for travellers. While there is no nationwide ban on vaping, the states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri, Terengganu and Sembilan have banned their sale. Vaping is illegal in parks, gas stations and public buildings in Selangor and could result in a $2,300 (€1964) fine or up to two years in prison.
Mexico: E-cigarettes are banned as anything that resembles a tobacco product but is not a tobacco product cannot be sold or imported in Mexico. Although many tourists have been known to enter the country without any complications, there have been reports of authorities confiscating e-cigarettes for various reasons.
Norway: All products containing nicotine are banned in Norway. However, Norwegians can import e-cigarettes if they have a medical note to prove that they need them to quit smoking. Travellers cannot bring e-cigarettes into the country.
Panama: Despite reports that the personal use of e-cigarettes are generally tolerated, the importation and sale of e-cigarettes is illegal and they can be confiscated.
Philippines: E-cigarettes are banned and anyone caught breaking the law can face up to four months in prison.
Singapore: All vaping devices, supplies and accessories have been illegal to buy, sell or use since 2010. Fines of up to $5000 (€4270) can be applied for the first offence. E-cigarettes can be confiscated at customs and are considered contraband.
Taiwan: E-cigarettes are classified as a regulated drug and their import and sale can lead to prison sentences and fines.
Thailand: Thailand has some of the harshest vaping laws in the world. If you’re caught with an e-cigarette you could be fined and potentially face a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Turkey: E-cigarettes are banned in Turkey and there have been reports of e-cigarettes and accessories confiscated from travellers at customs.
United Arab Emirates: The sale and import of e-cigarettes is illegal. The product will be confiscated at the airport if travellers attempt to bring it into the country.
Uruguay: The sale of e-cigarettes has been illegal since 2009.
Venezuela: While travellers have reported being able to vape in some public places, the purchase and sale of e-cigarettes is banned in Venezuela. Be aware that fines can be given on the spot.
Vietnam: Vaping has been recently banned in Vietnam and harsh punishments can be enforced.
It’s worth noting that many other countries have imposed various restrictions around vaping without enforcing an outright ban. Always check the rules before travelling to avoid any hassle.