If you’re traveling abroad this holiday season, it’s a good idea to understand the local perception and regulation of vaping
There are countless opinions on vaping regarding their safety, utility, and intrusiveness. So it should come at no surprise that the laws concerning vaping around the world are also extremely varied. If you’re planning on traveling out of the US over the holiday season, it’s critical that you have an understanding of the vaping laws in place where you’re going.
Ever since the 2014 WHO framework on tobacco control, many countries have implemented heavy restrictions or outright bans of e-cigarettes within their borders. The WHO framework attempted to make sense of the growing vaping industry but only succeeded in scaring many governments away from a proven harm reduction tool. Explicitly questioning if nicotine, which is the shared ingredient between vaping and smoking, is a “tumor promoter.” This lead to such a reaction that some countries even threaten jail time for possessing or using vaporizers.
But other countries have continued to support vaping and incorporate it into their existent smoking cessation programs. While nothing is conclusive yet, it appears that the nations who support the use of vaping experience a more significant reduction in their number of smokers. Places like the United Kingdom, which is a world leader in vaping acceptance, has one of the lowest smoking rates in Europe. In fact, they are currently experiencing the smallest smoking rate ever recorded there.
With the vast range of variation in acceptance and law for vaping, it’s clear that understanding the specific situation of the country you’re traveling to is critically important. We made this guide as a quick reference for anyone visiting another nation this holiday season. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Good For Vapers
Several countries have really bought into vaping for harm reduction purposes. These countries tend to be the places where vaping has become socially acceptable, so that’s a huge added bonus for travelers. As mentioned above, few countries have led the way on relevant vaping regulations better than the United Kingdom. Just this year, the annual Stoptober smoking cessation campaign incorporated vaping into its advertisements for the first time. The early numbers indicate that it was a huge success, helping millions fully grasp the differences between vaping and smoking.
The rest of the Europe is also a relatively positive place to find yourself if you’re a vaper, as most countries do not restrict adults from using e-cigarettes. This means even nicotine containing e-liquids are freely available for purchase and sale to anyone over 18.
The notable exceptions are places such as Switzerland, Belgium, and Turkey as well as a couple of the Nordic countries, Finland and Norway. While the specific laws of these countries vary, they all primarily regulate or ban the sale of e-liquid that has nicotine in it but allow nicotine free e-liquids. While a few countries in Europe have taken the cautious route, these laws are not overly strict. But it’s worth noting that many federal and local governments choose to ban their use in certain public places, so be sure to double-check the specific local laws.
Canada is generally speaking another fairly accepting country when it comes to e-cigarettes. Their overall stance is relatively similar to the US, in that the individual provinces have their own specific laws and most are reasonable; Their bans only apply to public use and not possession. While technically the nicotine-containing e-liquids are not approved by Health Canada, they are still widely available for sale to adults across the country.
Bad For Vapers
Sadly, the list of places that are bad for vapers is much longer than the list of good places. It is worth noting that many places around the world do not provide information on this topic. For instance, many African countries do not have laws regarding e-cigarettes at all. One African nation that has officially taken a stance on vaping is South Africa. They currently restrict access by classifying them as medicinal tools, which is potentially a step in the right direction.
The same cannot be said for South/Central America, where most of the countries clearly ban vaping. Brasil, Argentina, Colombia, Panamá, Uruguay, and Venezuela all have extreme bans on the sale and distribution of any vaping materials. Most of these countries also make a point to ban their possession as well, just to be extra thorough.
The same can be said for many countries in Asia. While some, such as South Korea, allow e-cigarettes to be freely purchased and sold, the taxes are some of the highest in the entire world. Japan, on the other hand, has banned traditional vaping, but actually allows Heat not Burn technology. This is a step in the right direction, but many experts find that while HnB devices are better than traditional cigarettes, they are still more dangerous than conventional vaping.
The majority of the remaining Asian countries that have taken a stand on this issue have decided in favor of very harsh regulations and bans. The most strict of these laws come out of Thailand, where a repeat offending vaper can be sentenced up to ten years in prison! But many other countries, such as Taiwan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong all have laws in place that severely limit the freedom of any visiting vapers.
With such a wide variety of different laws in place regarding vaping, it’s imperative to know what you’re getting yourself into when you travel abroad. Some areas will welcome vapers with open arms, while other places the same actions could see you thrown in prison. While that is a very extreme example, what’s not is the genuine possibility of hefty fines and even deportation.
Travelling can be a lot of fun, especially for the holidays. So the last thing anyone wants is to have their fun trip cut short with just a few costly decisions. So do yourself a favor whenever you plan on leaving the country and take a minute to read up on the local laws.
Are you planning on traveling abroad this year? Have you ever been anywhere vaping got you into trouble? How do you think we could get lawmakers around the world to agree on similar punishment levels? Let us know what you think in the comments.