Lucky enough to be travelling abroad soon? Want to take your vape 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 some time, 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.
In some countries, there are no vaping regulations, but vaping is not common and inhabitants may be taken aback to see you vaping. So vape respectfully, and be prepared for curious glances and questions when sub-ohm vaping!
Wherever possible, we have used multiple sources to confirm each point/country in this guide, and have regularly updated guidance based on feedback from readers. However, e-cigarette regulations change all the time and it’s possible those sources might be out of date. So it’s well worth double-checking with the local authorities/tourist information before you leave.
(To everyone who has commented/sent feedback - thank you so much! Your feedback has helped to keep this post up-to-date and assisted other travellers.)
- Travelling by plane
- Using vapes on planes
- Using vapes in airports
- Where can you legally vape?
- Before you travel
- Legality v. reality
- Dealing with different attitudes
Can I take my e-cig on a plane?
Most airlines allow e-cigarettes to be taken on-board in your carry-on luggage, but it’s best to check with the airline before you travel. EasyJet for instance, allow an e-cigarette with a maximum of two spare batteries to be taken on-board.
It’s not usually a problem taking small bottles of e-liquid on planes (I’ve done it many times!) as it falls under the 100 ml liquid limit. Obviously, you need to put the e-liquid in a clear plastic bag alongside your other liquids. If you have large bottles of e-liquid you should put them in your hold luggage.
Exact regulations vary from airline to airline, so it is worth checking!
Can I put my e-cig in checked luggage?
Can I charge my e-cig in the aircraft?
You are no longer allowed to charge e-cig devices on the aircraft.
Can I take e-liquid on the plane?
On most airlines you can take a small amount of e-liquid in carry on luggage (as with other e-liquids, this has to be carried in a single, transparent, resealable bag). Larger amounts need to be taken in hold luggage.One exception is Flybe, which no longer allows e-liquid to be carried on the plane. (Source: Electronic, water vapour cigarettes in the Exceptional Baggage on the Flybe Website).
Can I vape an on a plane?
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 most notorious airlines - people have been arrested and had jail time for using e-cigarettes on their planes.
British Airways have recently banned the sale of e-cigarettes on flights to Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, due to local regulations (which resulted in one of their crew members being detained and interrogated after being stopped at the border with an e-cig).
A note for rebels - while vaping does not usually set off fire alarms in, say, an airplane toilet, it can and has happened. Obviously, this isn’t something we can recommend.
How do I avoid leaking tanks when flying?
Do note that tanks often don't like the changes in pressure when you fly.
It's a good idea to empty your tank before going on board.
See 14 Tips to Stop Your Tanks From Leaking for more information.
Can I use my e-cig in an airport?
Sadly, things seem to be going backwards here, with many airports now not allowing vaping (although you can usually get away with it in smoking areas in countries where vaping is legal). Heathrow did used to have a vaping lounge, but they now only mention designated smoking areas on their website (leave a comment if you have experienced otherwise).
Some of the time you may be asked to use your e-cigarette in the smoking area. The V2 blog points out that there is no blanket ban for (US) airports on using ecigarettes but this is likely to vary from airport to airport, so it's best to check before you vape.
In 2013, USA Today ran a handy piece with an interactive map of which airports are e-cigarette friendly, which you can find here.
Can I take my e-cig through customs?
Sue C had the fright of her life when security at one airport mistook parts of her vape for bullets (see comments below)!
(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.)
However, with the exception of Dubai, see below, you are unlikely to have this problem when going through airport security in any country where e-cigarettes are well known and used (I've certainly never had a problem in the UK!)
Do make sure that your battery is fully charged and can be switched on as this may be required.
Coil Building Equipment
I once had to spend 45 minutes waiting for a friend at security.
He'd brought coil wire, pliers, testing equipment and more so he could build coils abroad.
When one security guard asked the other what was wrong with the bag, the answer was:
So think twice before putting DIY coil building equipment in your carry-on luggage!
Update: Dubai Airport Security Warning
Please note that numerous people have told us that their e-cigarettes have been confiscated by Dubai airport security. This has included during transit and during departure.
Can I take my e-cig through transit in a country where it is banned?
In general, based on both our own experiences and feedback from readers, it not a problem to take an electronic cigarette through an airport in a country where e-cigs are banned. However, if in doubt do check with your airline.
Where can you legally vape?
Again, things are more hopeful here. While e-cigs 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 e-cigarettes. (Update: One reader has reported that Singapore is now more relaxed about travellers vaping.) Some states in the US have also banned their use in parks or public places.
In Hong Kong, Tobacco Asia notes that nicotine-based e-cigarettes and liquids are completely banned and could get you an incredibly hefty fine of up to $12,900, being classed as a poison - phew!
For more information, see the bottom of this post for an extensive list of countries and their attitudes towards vaping.
Should I remove/disconnect batteries before traveling?
Yes, it’s a good idea to disconnect batteries from pods/tanks/cartridges e.t.c., turn off any manual batteries and take out removable batteries from mods. See our Guide to Ecig Batteries for more information.
Should I take my own e-liquid?
Make sure you have a good supply of e-liquid, as you may be unable to buy e-liquid in the country you are visiting. You may also find that foreign suppliers do not match your own supplier's testing regime! You can always check out our own delicious range of Halo UK e-liquid here ;)
Over the years it's become clear that just while vaping is officially banned in many countries, the regulations are often not enforced. For example, in the comments below Tony notes that in the UAE vaping is officially banned, but is increasingly popular and there seems to be no attempt to enforce the regulations.We've attempted to make this guide as accurate as possible. But please do bear in mind that:
- regulations change
- sometimes, and especially for smaller countries, we have only been able to find one source for these regulations
Get it wrong and the consequences can be serious - including, in some cases, large fines or jail time.
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 are 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!
Have you got any stories or tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!