Lucky enough to be travelling abroad soon? Want to take your e-cigarette with you? This handy guide will tell you all you need to know about travelling abroad with your Personal Vaping Device, from essential travel preparations to where you can safely vape.
Imagine: You land in Singapore, stroll through the streets enjoying the sights.
You haven’t had a puff for sometime, so you put your hand in your pocket and draw out your trusty vapestick.
You breathe in, enjoying the delicious hit at the back of your throat before blowing out a cloud of beautiful vapor.
But then… a heavy hand falls on your shoulder. You turn round to see an irate policeman. Next thing you know, your holiday has been spoiled with a $200 fine.
As regulations on e-cigarettes vary substantially from country to country, it’s important you know the law before you travel, or you could have your e-cig confiscated, be fined or even imprisoned (an unlikely scenario, ).
So we’ve put together this handy in-depth guide to ensure you don’t get caught out.
Please note however, that e-cigarette regulations can change at any time, so it’s worth double-checking with the local authorities before you leave.
- Travelling By Plane
- Using ECigarettes on Planes
- Using ECigarettes in Airports
- Where can you legally vape?
- Before you travel
- Dealing with Attitudes
- Legality: Country by Country
Travelling by Plane
You can usually take your e-cigarette on a plane, but planes can be fussy about lithium ion batteries. So generally to be safe, you need to place your lithium ion batteries in your carry on luggage.
It’s not usually a problem taking small bottles of eliquid on planes (I’ve done it many times!) as it falls under the 100 ml liquid limit. Obviously, you need to put the eliquid in a clear plastic bag. If you have large bottles of eliquid you should put them in your hold luggage.
Using ECigarettes on Planes
Forget it! The only airline I know that allows you to use anything resembling an ecig is Ryan Air – even then, you can’t use your own ecig, but you can buy a smokeless cigarette on board and use it. (I’ve not tried it, although years ago researcher Paul Bergen told me they were pretty awful. If you’ve tried one, please share your thoughts in the comments.)
QatarAirways are one of the worst airlines – people have been arrested and thrown in jail for using ecigarettes on QA planes.
A note for rebels – while vaping does not usually set off fire alarms in, say, an airplane toilet, some very heavy vaping devices have been known to do so. Obviously, this isn’t something we can recommend.
Using ECigarettes in Airports
Things are a bit more hopeful here – Heathrow even has a vaping lounge. The airport also allows ecigarettes to be used in the airport itself, although not beyond the gateway.
Some of the time you may be asked to use your ecigarette in the smoking area. The V2 blog points out that there is no blanket ban on (US) airports on using ecigarettes but this is likely to vary from airport to airport.
Going Through Security With Vaping Supplies
Sue C had the fright of her life when security at one airport mistook parts of her ecigarette for bullets (see comments below)! Although less likely to happen as electronic cigarettes become more common, it might be worth taking a second to explain that you are carrying an electronic cigarette in your hold luggage.
(Aaron Frazier had a similar experience when he had to empty his bag both in India and on returning – see the Facebook comments below for the full story.)
Make sure it that your battery fully charged and can be switched on as this may be required if electrical items are charged.
Where can you legally vape?
Again, things are more hopeful here. While ecigs have been banned in a number of countries, most bans focus on sellers rather than users.
In fact, when I was in Indonesia last year, I met several vapers who told me that they were allowed to import for their own use, but that the powerful tobacco lobby would not allow the devices to be sold in any scale.
However, there are countries which are more extreme. Singapore, for example, levies a hefty $200 fine for anyone using ecigarettes. Some states in the US have also banned their use in parks or public places (New York, I am thinking of you!)
Before You Travel
Before travelling, it’s a good idea to disconnect batteries from clearomisers/cartridges, and turn off any manual batteries. See our Guide to Ecig Batteries for more information.
Make sure you have a good supply of eliquid, as you may be unable to buy eliquid in the country you are visiting. You may also find that foreign suppliers do not match our own strict testing regime! You can always check out our own delicious range of UK eliquid here
Dealing with Attitudes
Remember, vaping may not be as well known as it is here. Attitudes may also have been influenced by the low standards of reporting in some countries (Qatar papers once announced that e-cigarettes deliver 100 times more nicotine than tobacco cigarettes!) There’s a good chance the local tobacco industry spin doctors will have been at work too.
So be patient – and make sure you armed with the facts. You may also find that people get quite excited – I’ve had Spanish people jabbering away at me when they realised there was an effective alternative to smoking!
Finally, enjoy your trip – and don’t forget to send us a photo of you lounging in your hammock with a cocktail in one hand and your ecig in the other!
Where You Can and Can’t Vape: A Breakdown of Countries
We’ve done our best to research every country in the world. Obviously, it’s a massive task, amd we’ve had to rely on secondary sources and information which may change.
So, if you have any personal experience or additional information, please share in the comments below and we will update this post.
In cases where the regulation has been listed as unclear, you should proceed with caution when taking your ecigarette and any nicotine refills.
It is important to note, that even if ecigarettes are legal in a country, there may be a lack of stores from which to buy refills from, so stock up before you go!
You can also use our handy interactive world vaping map to easily find the status of ecigs in the country you’re travelling to. Click here to see the map!
(Note: Also see ECigarette Politics list of countries, which has both informed this post and contains additional information.)
In contrast to Europe and the US, the situation in Africa is unclear, and many countries appear not to have taken a position on ecigs. Where we’ve been able to find information we’ve put it below – if you know more please let us know in the comments!
Algeria – Unclear.
Angolia – Unclear.
Benin – Unclear.
Botswana – Unclear.
Burkino Faso – Unclear.
Burundi – Unclear.
Cameroon – Unclear.
Central African Rep. – Unclear.
Chad – Unclear.
Congo – Unclear.
Djibouti – Unclear.
Egypt – Although e-cigs are banned, it is legal to vape.
Equatorial Guinea – Unclear.
Eritrea – Unclear.
Ethiopia – Unclear.
Gabon – Unclear.
Gambia (The) – Unclear.
Ghana – Unclear.
Guinae – Unclear.
Guinae Bassai – Unclear.
Ivory Coast – Unclear.
Kenya – Legal.
Lesotho – Unclear.
Liberia – Unclear.
Libya – Unclear.
Madagascar – Unclear.
Malawi – Unclear.
Mali – Unclear.
Mauritania – Unclear.
Mauritius – Unclear.
Morocco – Unclear.
Mozambique – Unclear.
Namibia – Unclear.
Niger – Unclear.
Nigeria – Unclear.
Rwanda – Unclear.
Senegal – Unclear.
Sierra Leone – Unclear.
Somalia – Unclear.
South Africa – E-Cigarettes are legal, although cartridges and liquids containing nicotine are not. Despite this, eliquid is widely (but illegally!) sold.
Sudan – Unclear.
Swaziland – Unclear.
Tanzania – Unclear.
Togo – Unclear.
Tunisia – Unclear.
Uganda – Unclear.
W. Sahara – Unclear.
Zaire – Unclear.
Zambia – Unclear.
Personal use allowed. Canada is very against electronic cigarettes but does not appear to have the legal basis to ban their use. Nevertheless, ecigarettes sent to Canada are often seized.
Although e-cigarettes are legal, their use is regulated differently by states and even cities – check before you vape. The following was correct as of 02/07/2014. Where we have specific information on localities we have detailed them below.
Alabama – some localities choosing to ban use indoors.
Alaska – Localities choosing to ban use indoors.
Arkansas – Although prohibited on school district property.
California – with localities (inc. parks and other public places) choosing to ban use.
Colorado – Legal, but prohibited on school district property.
Delaware – A bill is pending however, that would prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes everywhere where smoking is.
Maryland – a bill may soon be passed banning vaping in public places.
Massachusetts – E-cigarettes can be used in Massachusetts, with the exception of locations and establishments in South Hadley that fall under the ‘smoke free’ workplace law.
Missouri – with localities choosing to ban use indoors.
New Hampshire – Prohibited on school district property.
New Jersey – Current ban in place for use in indoors and workplaces with a potential ban on use in beaches and parks. A bill has been passed regarding banning use in public which would mean users may be fined between $250 – $1000.
New York/ NYC – NYC have passed a bill that states electronic cigarettes are no longer allowed to be used in any place where smoking regular cigarettes is prohibited.
Oklahoma – Legal at time of writing, but prohibited on state property.
Pennsylvania – There is a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places.
Tennessee – moving toward ban in county owned buildings.
Texas – Currently permitted, potential of future regulations.
Utah – There is a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places. However, they can be used for sampling and demonstration in ecig shops.
West Virginia – No current regulations, although considering a ban.
Minnesota – use is permitted, except in several public places such as public schools, government buildings and healthcare facilities.
N. Dakota – There is a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in all public indoor places as well as vaping being prohibited within 20 feet of entrances, exits etc.
Oregon – except in state agency buildings and on state agency grounds.
Washington – There is a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in public places in King County, where Seattle Washington is located.
Caribbean – Unclear.
Costa Rica – Regulated as tobacco product.
Jamaica – There is no ban on electronic cigarettes. However, the Ministry advises all products containing nicotine that are being imported, require a registration and a permit. (Source)
Mexico – Banned import and sale.
Panama – Banned, although according to Alan Cairns in the comments below they are still sold in airport bars, where you can also vape!
Argentina – Import, manufacturing and sale is banned.
Brazil – Banned.
Bolivia – Unclear.
Chile – Unclear.
Colombia – Sources vary, take your e-cig at your own risk!
Update: Mateo Toro reports:
“Vaping in Colombia is allowed. You can vape inside malls and big areas, of course not on small restaurants or tight spaces. No problems with customs so far, they understand what it is…”
Ecuador – Legal but treated as a tobacco product.
El Salvador – Legal. You can even get a card from the medical community to explain you are using at as a smoking cessation aid, and that it is harmless to those around you! (Thanks to Miguel for the update.)
French Guiana – Unclear.
Guatamela – Legal.
Guyana – Unclear.
Paraguay – Unclear.
Peru – Unclear.
Suriname – Banned.
Uruguay – Unclear.
Venezuela – Unclear.
Afghanistan – Legal.
Bangladesh – Unclear.
Brunei – Banned.
Cambodia – Banned. See Ban turns ecigarettes into back alley trade.
China – Astonishingly, given the fact that China is the main producer of eliquid and ecigarettes, eliquid is illegal, although this may change. ECigarettePolitics states ecigs are legal, but that there may be regional issues. Sale and possession of ecigarettes containing nicotine is also illegal in Hong Kong, with a possible fine of up to HK$100,000 and/or a prison sentence of 2 years.
India – Currently legal, but the government plans to ban their use shortly.
Indonesia – Officially banned, but the authorities don’t have a problem with personal use, and allow small quantities to be imported for your and your friends use.
Japan – Sale of nicotine refills are banned. Be sure to stock up!
Jordan – Banned.
Kazakhstan – Unclear.
Kyrgyzstan – Unclear.
Laos – Unclear.
Malaysia – Sources conflict on whether there is a ban, however some stores appear to be operating in Malaysia.
Mongolia – Unclear.
Myanmar – Legal.
Nepal – Legal.
North Korea – Unclear.
Pakistan – Legal.
Philippines – Legal.
Russia – Banned.
Singapore – Banned
South Korea – Legal, although heavily taxed.
Sri Lanka – Unclear.
Taiwan – Technically not banned, but is not widely accepted. Importers/ manufacturers face fines and imprisonment.
Thailand – Banned.
Sri Lanka – Unclear.
Syria – Unclear.
Tajikistan – Legal.
Turkmenistan – Unclear.
Uzbekistan – Unclear.
There is no restriction on the importation, sale, possession or purchase of e-cigarettes without nicotine. Nicotine is classified as a Schedule 7 poison therefore in all states it is illegal for retail sale unless a permit has been issued. A Schedule 7 poison does not usually justify an import prohibition, however, in certain states and territories, obtaining, purchasing, possession and/or using nicotine without a permit is an offence.
New S. Wales – No regulations on buying and possessing products containing nicotine
N. Territories – Permit is required to possess nicotine.
Queensland – Nicotine is classified as a regulated poison therefore prohibits a person from obtaining and possessing nicotine.
S. Australia – No regulation on the possession of nicotine and products containing nicotine.
Tasmania – Nicotine possession is not prohibited.
Victoria – Personal use is allowed.
W. Australia – No regulation on the possession of nicotine and products containing nicotine.
Sale of cartridges and e-liquid containing nicotine is illegal, but importation for personal use is allowed – so stock up before you go! See Ecigarettes and The Law in Australia by Aussie Ecigarette Reviews for more info.
Europe and Russia
Albania – Electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers are legal.
Andorra – Unclear.
Armenia – Unclear.
Austria – A previous ban on electronic cigarettes has been lifted. (Thanks to SPH in the comments below for the update.)
Azerbaijan – Unclear.
Belarus – Unclear.
Belgium – Sale of ecigarettes with nicotine is illegal, but nicotine free eliquid is legal. ECigarettes and eliquid can be imported for personal use. Vaping is prohibited where smoking is (i.e. public places). Nicotine refills are classified as a medical product. (Thanks to Francois from The Belgium Association of Vapers for the information.)
Bosnia & Herzegovina – Unclear.
Bulgaria – Legal.
Croatia – According to our sources, vaping is banned in public places. according to Albert Dekker in the Facebook comments below enforcement of the ban is non-existent. SwitchtoEcig believes that the law explicitly refers to tobacco products, not to ecigs.
Cyprus – Legal.In the comments below Raymond has added that there is no problem using e-cigarettes in the airport and no-smoking bars, but that tank batteries are expensive and of poor quality – make sure you have spares!
Czech Republic – Legal.
Denmark – E-cigarettes with nicotine are classified as medical products – companies must have authorization before selling. Importation of nicotine refills for personal use is permitted.
Estonia – Legal following court challenge.
Finland – Legal – but as nicotine is considered a prescription drug it is illegal to sell cartridges or e-liquid containing nicotine. However, cartridges with less than 10mg of nicotine and e-liquid with less than 0.42g of nicotine can be legally imported for personal use. One reader from Finland has pointed out that there are lots of zero nicotine eliquid for sale and that no-one seems to have a problem importing it for personal use.
France – Use in public places is restricted.
Georgia – Unclear.
Germany – Electronic cigarettes are permitted.
Hungary – The sale and use of e-cigs are legal, however the sale of products containing nicotine are prohibited – stock up before you leave!
Iceland – E-cigarettes are legal, however cartridges and refills containing more than 0.9mg of nictotine are illegal. See Eliquid containing nicotine banned in Iceland.
Italy – E-Cigarettes are not restricted.
Ireland – Import, sale and use of electronic cigarettes is permitted. Banned on all public transport (thanks to David for the update.)
Latvia – E-Cigs are currently permitted but possible ban of them in the future – check before you leave!
Liechtenstein – Unclear.
Lithuania – E-Cigarettes are banned.
Luxembourg – E-Cigarettes are legal.
Macedonia – Unclear.
Malta – Electronic cigarettes are permitted, but are considered a tobacco product therefore can not be used in enclosed public spaces.
Moldova – Unclear.
Monaco – Unclear.
Montenegro – Unclear.
Netherlands (Holland) – Electronic cigarettes are permitted.
Norway – Electronic cigarette devices are legal. However, the sale of cartridges and e-liquids containing nicotine are prohibited, so take some stock with you.
Poland – Electronic cigarettes and permitted.
Portugal – Legal and available. (Thanks to Bruno for the update.)
Romania – Electronic cigarettes are legal.
Russia – No current restrictions on electronic cigarettes.
San Marino – Unclear.
Serbia – Ecigs are currently legal but are treated as smoking, and are prohibited where smoking is banned. Shops and equipment are scarce outside the big cities. (Thanks to Dandellion in the comments below for the information.)
Slovakia – E-cigarettes are considered a medicinal product. Electronic cigarettes are also banned in public places.
Slovenia – E-cigarettes are permitted but cannot be used in public places where tobacco cigarettes are banned.
Spain – Legal. However, e-cigarettes are banned in the majority of public places
Sweden – Electronic vaping devices are legal, however the sale of cartridges and e-liquids containing nicotine are prohibited. Take a supply of cartridges/e-liquid with you.
Switzerland – E-Cigarettes are permitted, but the sale of nicotine containing cartridges and e-liquids are not. Importation for personal use is allowed however.
Turkey – Electronic cigarettes are banned in Turkey.
Ukraine – E-cigs in Ukraine fall under the same laws as regular cigarettes, therefore cannot be smoked in public places.
Iran – Unclear, possible ban.
Iraq – Unclear.
Israel – Not currently banned, although moving towards a ban in Sept 2014.
Lebanon – Banned.
Oman – Banned.
Saudi Arabia – Banned.
United Arab Emirates – Banned.
Yemen – Unclear.