Who Would Have Guessed?
We’re lucky that in the UK vaping is legal and medical organisations like Public Health England and the NHS recognise the power of vaping when it comes to helping people quit smoking. But there are many countries around the world where vaping is against the law.
Sadly, a lot of these aggressive, anti-vaping laws seem to be based on misconceptions rather than the facts about vaping.
A growing amount of research shows that vaping is significantly safer than smoking and doesn’t encourage people to take up cigarettes. There’s also a number of medical organisations supporting these conclusions, so it’s worrying that vapers can be fined or jailed in some countries because of these disproven myths.
Thankfully there are a lot of countries around the world where vaping is legal and accepted. But let’s take a look at some of the worst places around the world to vape.
The sale and use of e-cigarettes is illegal throughout the United Arab Emirates but Dubai is perhaps the most aggressive when it comes to enforcing these laws.
Smoking itself is legal in Dubai, but vaping is prohibited and vaping devices are routinely confiscated at the airport and vapers can face heavy fine if they’re caught vaping in Dubai.
E-cigarettes are banned in Thailand and vaping can result in a fine or even a lengthy jail sentence.
Enforcement of these rules is inconsistent. Vapers in Thailand can receive a smaller, on the spot fine, a much larger fine that could be thousands of pounds or be arrested and jailed. Vaping in Thailand is a massive gamble that could result in ten years in prison if you’re unlucky.
E-cigarettes are illegal in Singapore under the same law that prohibits the importation, distribution and sale of any product that is believed to resemble a tobacco product.
Anyone caught with vaping equipment in Singapore can receive a fine of up to four thousand pounds if convicted or spend six months in jail.
According to Singapore’s Health Minister, Khaw Boon Wan, e-cigarettes are the industry’s attempt to attract new users and were marketed to appeal to younger customers. This is the exact opposite of reality as multiple studies show that vaping doesn’t encourage new people to take up smoking. But, despite evidence to the contrary, the law remains in effect and strictly enforced.
Many countries in South America have made vaping illegal which can make the entire continent a difficult place for vapers to visit.
In Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Chile the sale, distribution and import of vaping equipment is prohibited and vaping is illegal. Being caught vaping can result in a large fine and confiscation of any vaping equipment.
Despite the fact that vaping is permitted throughout most of China and China itself is a centre of vaping manufacture and development, Hong Kong has some very strict laws when it comes to vaping.
Use an e-cigarette in Hong Kong and you could face a fine of around ten thousand pounds and even be sentenced to two years in jail.
Before 2018, when vaping products were banned across India, the legality of vaping varied from state to state. The states of Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram and Maharashtra all banned e-cigarettes and the Punjab was the most aggressive when it came to enforcing vaping restrictions.
In 2016, a court in the Punjab sentenced a man to three years imprisonment and a fine of around one thousand pounds for the crime of selling e-cigarettes. This was the first ever vaping conviction in India and, despite the man being arrested for selling e-cigarettes, he only possessed one e-cigarette and eight juice cartridges.
This three year sentence for possessing a single e-cigarette seems like a colossal overreaction, but the situation gets worse. The Punjab court justified their decision by claiming that e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is highly addictive and potentially lethal. They stated that such products needed to be dealt with sternly for the welfare of society.
The conviction was based on the false assumption that vaping is as harmful as smoking and ignores all the evidence that shows vaping is significantly less dangerous and is proven to almost double the chances of smokers quitting tobacco for good.
If you’re traveling to India with a vaping device that helps you quit smoking then you could end up in prison “for the welfare of society.”
In Mexico the sale and manufacture of e-liquids that contain nicotine is illegal as they are classified as objects that imitate tobacco products. Importing vaping equipment is illegal and devices can be confiscated, but the tolerance of vaping in general will vary depending on local laws.
So, vaping in Mexico is a gamble. Depending on how lucky you are, vaping might cause no hassle whatsoever or it could land you a fine and your equipment seized.
The countries listed here are just some of the places around the world where vaping is illegal and you could face a large fine or even imprisonment for possessing vaping equipment. Frustratingly many of the countries that have these strict rules about vaping have no such laws about tobacco cigarettes.
The excuses used to justify many of these laws are the same myths and misconceptions that have surrounded vaping from the beginning. The idea that vaping is just as harmful as smoking and encourages new people to take up smoking. But a lot of research has been done into the effects of vaping and the evidence shows us that vaping is significantly safer than smoking and isn’t a gateway for new people to take up cigarettes.
With so much evidence and so many medical organisations supporting the fact that vaping is healthier and proven to help people quit smoking for good, it’s depressing that some countries still have these aggressive and unfounded laws against vaping.