Vaping laws can vary dramatically around the world. There are some countries that ban vaping and others that take a more open view on e-cigarettes. With travel returning to some form of normality, people are starting to think about their next big holiday away to see some sights, soak up the sun, relax and have a vape.
For the majority of global destinations, there’s not much to worry about for vapers. However, there are a places where the vaping regulations are extremely strict. In the UK our government is progressive in terms vaping and it is viewed (rightly so) as a smoking cessation product, not just in the UK, but also most of the EU, Canada and New Zealand have this attitude as well.
But this isn’t the same for others, so we are going to take a look at the vaping laws from countries around the world and the countries that ban vaping.
Why Are Some Countries Banning Vapes?
Honestly, this is a difficult question to answer. A lot of the countries take their advice regarding everything to do with public health from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO are unfortunately anti-vaping, we have written about this before so you can catch up. Once the WHO say vaping = bad, then a lot of countries follow this advice to the letter and impose an outright ban.
For others, it really is difficult to say. Media misinformation can play a part, old flawed research that has since been debunked is another, which people still viewing nicotine as the devil also plays a part. When it comes to e-cigs and vaping a lot of ‘people in charge’ view them still as the unknown. Whereas we actually know a lot about vaping thanks to studies and research, which all point to vaping being THE viable alternative to smoking.
Why Are E-Cigarattes Legal in the UK?
The UK Government has a progressive stance when it comes to vaping. They listen to the advice of experts, including Public Health England (PHE) and Cancer Research UK, who both back vaping as a viable alternative to smoking.
When Totally Wicked took fight for e-cig to the European Court, although we ‘lost’ in court, what we did do was open to the door for our Government to say, ok those regulations are going to be too strict. We have vaping regulations in the UK, the Tobacco and Related Products Regulation (TRPR), but they are tame compared to what the EU proposed.
List of Countries Where Vaping is Completely Legal
There are very few, in fact no countries that we could find that have no restrictions at all on vaping.
Almost all countries have an age restriction at the very least, as they should. Some regulation is important, as with any age restricted product. So there are no countries where vaping is a complete free for all, with absolutely no regulation.
But there are many countries where vaping is completely legal, let’s take a look at those.
Countries Where Vaping is Legal (But With Restrictions)
This might as well be titled ‘Most of the world’, as most places allow vaping, but there are restrictions in place. The UK, New Zealand and Canada as an example are all very progressive in their attitude towards vaping, but they all have their own regulations.
Indonesia – Subject to taxation.
Jamaica – Importation requires government permit.
Switzerland – A ban was overturned in 2018 after a court appeal.
United Arab Emirates
Vietnam – Conflicting information as to a ban.
List of Countries Where Vaping is Banned
There are over 40 countries where vaping is outright banned. This includes the importation and selling of e-cig and e-liquid, as well as using an e-cig in these countries.
Even with a ban in place, the punishment in some places is not severe. In others however, the potential ramifications for even using an e-cig are huge; jail time and a massive fine.
For most of the list below, while it is illegal to sell or import e-cigs, most are fine with vapes being used in the country. But not for all, some it is even illegal to bring an e-cig into the country, these will be highlighted below.
Antigua and Barbuda
Australia – While Australia don’t say they ban vaping, it is essentially a ban by proxy. The sale or importation of nicotine containing e-liquid is illegal.
Cambodia – Completely banned.
Gambia – Completely banned.
India – Completely banned.
Japan – Banned by proxy. No nicotine containing e-liquid allowed.
N. Korea – Completely banned.
Lebanon – Completely banned.
Nicaragua – Completely banned.
Qatar – Completely banned.
Singapore – Completely banned. Possession is also a crime and can carry a fine of up to $1500.
Thailand – Some of the harshest punishments for vaping in the world. The foreign office says: “Vaporisers (like e-cigarettes and e-baraku) and refills are illegal in Thailand. These items may be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted. Their sale or supply is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty.”
Vatican City – Completely banned.
A lot of the countries where vaping is banned, have extremely high smoking rates. As an example one of the newest on the ban list is India, who introduced their ban in 2019. More than 100 million adults smoke in India and tobacco is the cause of nearly a million deaths in the country each year, but the WHO condemn vaping and unfortunately a lot of these countries follow their advice to the letter.
Are Attitudes Changing?
Yes, but not for the better at the moment. After the WHO published a report in 2021 essentially condemning vaping, we are likely to see more countries ban vaping and vaping products. After the first wave of regulations, not much has changed around the world. Governments seem to be in no rush to change their stance even with so much positive research.
Will Vaping Be Banned In The UK One Day?
While nothing is set in stone, it doesn’t look like vaping will be banned in the UK. The government has a goal to be smoke free by 2030 and there are many MP’s and public health bodies who are very vocal about how important a role vaping will play in this plan.
Check Vaping Laws Before You Travel
While some of these various laws may seem harsh, you must abide by the regulations. Luckily, there are only a few countries where the regulation is very strict resulting in complete bans. However, it is these places you must look out for so wherever you travel, ensure you familiarise yourself with a specific countries rules to avoid any unwanted fines, confiscations or even jail time.
We can now see that almost all countries have some form of regulation, some more harsh than others. The UK is one of the most progressive places in the world and has an open and thriving vaping industry. Other countries are much more harsh in their regulation and few have banned it outright. This will be an ever changed list and hopefully we see more countries taking an open stance to e-cigarettes.