Vaping is becoming more popular as smokers turn away from cigarettes and focus on vaping devices and E-cigarettes.
If you’re into vaping, it’s important to research your destinations to make sure the possession and use of vaping devices is legal. Also, you’ll need to know airport and airline rules for these devices.
What exactly is vaping?
It is the inhalation of a vapor created by an electronic cigarette or vaping device. These are hand-held battery powered smoking devices and while most people use them to inhale nicotine, they can also be used to inhale illicit substances. They allow the user to simulate the experience of smoking a cigarette and work by heating a liquid until it turns into an aerosol (vapor) which is then inhaled.
The World Health Organisation takes a dim view of it but some governments actively encourage the use of vaping devices in lieu of traditional cigarettes. The Australian government has determined that the use of these devices is not harmless but acknowledges that further research is required. To date, E-cigarettes have not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). According to the Australian Government Department of Health, while the use of vaping devices is not banned in Australia, the commercial sale of nicotine for use in these devices is illegal.
Can you take a vaping device on an international flight?
Most airlines will have their own rules around this. Generally though, you can take a device onboard in your carry on luggage. Most wont allow you to pack a device in your checked in baggage due to battery risk. Vaping liquids are subject to the same size restrictions applicable to general liquids and gels – usually 100ml.
Although you can take a device onboard with you, you cannot use it during the flight.
Best to check with your chosen carrier as to their specific requirements to make sure your equipment isn’t confiscated.
What about airport rules?
Just like traditional cigarettes, most airports prohibit the use of vaping devices inside terminals. Some ban it completely but others allow vaping (and smoking) in designated areas – mostly outside terminal buildings and before security checkpoints.
Airports which are currently considered vape-friendly by having designated areas include London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris Charles de Gaulle and many airports across the United States. Just be aware though that international airports often have several terminals and designated smoking and vaping areas may only be in one particular terminal.
Which countries have banned it?
Currently, countries fall into 3 broad groups:
- Countries where it is completely banned
- Countries where it is legal to use these devices but sale of all associated products is illegal
- Countries where it is legal to use these devices but only sale of nicotine to use with them is illegal
If you’re heading to Europe, you wont run into too much trouble with most EU countries taking a liberal view of these devices. Take care though if heading to Turkey – there is conflicting information with some reference sources indicating a total ban on these devices and yet others advising that it is legal to use them but illegal to import or sell.
South America is interesting with the use of these devices being legal in some countries but not others. Notably, use of these devices is generally banned in Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico and Brazil. Whilst bans are in force, reports exist of a blind eye being turned towards tourists but be aware that you may have the device confiscated and / or be slapped with a fine if you get caught with one.
Possession and use of vaping devices is completely legal in the United States and New Zealand. Commercial sale of vaping products is also legal.
Vaping in the Middle East is generally banned – notably in United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman and Qatar.
Asia carries significant risk for vapers – some Asian countries penalise use and possession of these devices with imprisonment.
Thailand has very strict vaping laws – being caught with a device could land you in jail for up to 10 years! Being caught with a device in Singapore could see you slugged with a hefty fine of up to $5,000.
Vaping is banned in several other Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia. As is the case in South America, vaping communities do exist in Asia and a blind eye may be turned. Take care though, there is no guarantee.
The laws are constantly evolving and it is always best to check the most recent advice for the country you are planning to visit and the carrier with which you plan to travel. As is always the case, it’s never a good idea to find yourself on the wrong side of the law while overseas.