Vaping Vacation: How to Safely Travel Abroad
Vaping Vacation: How to Safely Travel Abroad
Springtime has sprung, and as we flip the calendars over to May that means your summer vacation is likely fast approaching. While some people daydream about daiquiris on a sandy beach, we vapers envision contentedly puffing away on an exotic tropical e-liquid with the waves crashing in front of us. Everyone loves going on vacation, and most likely you're going to want to make sure your vape gear can travel with you.
When traveling abroad, it’s important to note there are a wide array of different local restrictions on vaping. Vaping laws are still relatively new, and if you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know there are a handful of countries that are particularly sensitive about the sale, import and use of vaping gear.
No worries, we've got your back with this quick guide on the major differences between countries' vape laws, along with the best ways to avoid getting into trouble for vaping in public.
For the most part, European countries like the UK, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy all have laws on the books that are similar to those in the US. There are vape shops in major metropolitan areas, and a fairly permissive attitude prevails when it comes to vaping in public. When you walk around most tourist-friendly cities, like Berlin, Paris, Rome, or London, you’ll probably notice a lot of people vaping, especially American tourists, but also local Europeans.
There are a few exceptions to rules that broadly allow for public vaping, but for the most part, if you're allowed to smoke, you're probably allowed to vape. When it comes to businesses, for example, you probably shouldn't vape unless the owner expressly permits it.
Two more places where you can’t vape are on public transit systems like the London Underground or on the EU railway system. It’s probably best, in general, to refrain from vaping on platforms, and definitely on trains, unless there’s a sign allowing for it. The other place you’ll want to keep away from vaping is in public buildings. You can’t vape in libraries, banks, or museums. Doing so is severely frowned upon and should be avoided. However, if you’re going to the beach, you’ll more than likely be able to vape there.
Another thing to note when you go overseas, particularly in Europe, is the inaccessibility of JUUL pods. If you use JUUL devices, they aren’t allowed in the EU due to their high nicotine concentration, and finding replacement pods can be very difficult. You'll also notice that EU countries have strict limits on e-liquid bottle size and that clearomizers holding more than 2.0 ml of liquid are banned. So if you've got a giant tank on your mod and happen to break it, you're probably going to have to replace it with a miniature "EU version." This law has been in place for a few years now, so most Chinese hardware manufacturers have clones of their worldwide devices that comply with EU restrictions.
A more complicated continent when it comes to vaping restrictions, Asia hosts a number of countries that have enacted heavy-handed prohibitions on vaping. Recently, we reported on a French tourist in Thailand who was arrested, jailed and deported for vaping on a motorized scooter. Thailand has had a full ban on vapor products since 2014, they have not been shy about enforcing that ban. Vaping is also banned in Brunei, Indonesia, and it's punishable in Hong Kong with a fine of up to 100,000 HKD (more than 12,000 USD) and/or a prison term.
China is the birthplace of vaping, as well as the home to the world's most influential and prolific vapor products manufacturers. As a result, it's also one of the most lenient and permissive places to pull out a mod. As with Europe and the US, there are still some restrictions related to vaping in public and within private businesses. If you want to vape indoors, it’s probably best to just ask first or wait until you get back outside.
India has had an uptick in vaping restrictions in recent years, and a battle is currently being waged over a national vaping ban. Select states have already banned e-cigarettes. For the most part, however, the Indian people are fairly relaxed when it comes to vaping, and there’s a thriving grey market supplying the country's many active vapers.
In Japan, the latest vape news is that capital city Tokyo will be banning vapor products at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Japan already bans conventional liquid-based vapor products in everyday life, and there’s a heavily state-influenced combustible cigarette industry. Your only choice here is nicotine-free liquid or using "heat not burn" vapor products that involve vaping off actual tobacco cigarettes soaked in PG.
Starting in April 2020, smoking will also be prohibited in restaurants, bars, offices, and hotels outside guest rooms in Tokyo, although some expensive establishments will be exempt from this prohibition.
In Canada and Mexico, e-cigarettes remain mostly unregulated. In Canada, however, it's technically illegal to sell vapor products, as any nicotine-containing e-liquid is banned by Canada Health. The regulation is generally unenforced, and vaping supplies can be found for sale throughout Canada. Most cities, like Vancouver and Toronto, have banned their use where smoking is prohibited, similar to in the US and Europe.
If you’re going to the Middle East or South America for your vacation, be aware that many countries in the region enforce full-on bans. If you’re flying to these places, it’s probably best to be as cautious as possible and not bring your vape gear at all.
These 21 countries currently enforce near-total e-cig and vapor product bans: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Columbia, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Panama, Singapore, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirate, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Legal systems are a perpetually evolving beast, particularly when it comes to vaping which, despite being a decade old now, is still a relatively new phenomenon. While we've tried to hit on many popular destinations, every list has its limits. If you're not finding your next destination here, the Wikipedia page on vaping regulations is a great resource not only for more detailed information on smaller nations but also for up-to-date information.