The Vape UK guide to travelling with your e-cig in 2019
Are you a vaper? Are you planning a holiday in 2019? Here’s what you need to know about travelling abroad with your vape kit.
As we head into deepest, darkest winter, our thoughts turn to planning next year’s getaways. If, like me, you’re one of the millions of UK vapers travelling abroad next year, you might want to double check local vaping laws in the country you’re travelling to. Get caught out and you risk having your e-cig confiscated, hefty fines, or even jail time!
At Vape UK we like to keep our customers in the know. This vape travel guide is correct at the time of publication. We will keep it updated as and when rules change; but we would still recommend you check with the local tourist information service before you set off.
Taking an e-cig on a plane
The regulations around vaping gear in airports and on planes is an ever changing beast. The rules vary from airline to airline, and from airport to airport. The below points represent the most common vaping restrictions you’ll come across.
Vape mods and batteries
Vape mods and batteries must be carried in your hand luggage - NOT in the hold. They must be charged and, preferably, disconnected from tanks and clearomisers. You are prohibited from charging your vape device on board an aircraft.
E-liquid and vape pod refills
Small 10ml bottles of vape juice, or e-cig refills, are fine in your hand luggage - just treat them as you would any other liquid and put them in the clear plastic bag when going through security. Larger shortfill e-liquids should go into your checked baggage.
Certain airports (Hong Kong, for example) and airlines (FlyBe, for one) won’t let you through with e-liquids or e-cig refills containing nicotine as they consider them to be a poison. If in doubt, travel with 0mg shortfills but remember to mix your nic shots before you travel (if you’re a nicotine user).
If you’re travelling to a country outside of the EU (where strict TPD regulations are enforced), make sure you take ample e-liquid with you for your trip. The quality of the ingredients, and flavour of e-juice is pretty shoddy in some countries.
Tanks and clearomisers
Separate them from your mod or battery before going through security. If the tank contains any e-liquid, remember to declare it in the same plastic bag as your other liquids to avoid delays with the guards.
Vape tanks and cabin pressure don’t mix very well. Before getting on the plane, empty any remaining vape juice out of the tank to avoid annoying leakages.
If you want to dodge some tough questions at security and/or customs, it might be worth avoiding taking your coil wire, pliers, and multimeter in your hand luggage!
Vaping in the airport
Again, this is purely dependant on the airport. Unfortunately, the restrictions around vaping in airports around the world seem to be getting worse, not better. If vaping is legal in the country, and the airport contains a smoking lounge/area, you should be able to vape there as well (stinky clothes time). If in doubt, ask!
Vaping on the plane
Absolutely not! This is a big no-no - most airlines have now specifically incorporated the use of e-cigs into their pre-flight notices about smoking being forbidden onboard.
And yes, we know that vaping is very unlikely to set off smoke detectors in the toilet. However, if you take a look at this cautionary tale about an air rage incident involving a vaper, you’ll see that it *can* happen.
Qatar Airways have actually had people arrested and imprisoned for vaping on their flights. Until recently, you couldn’t even carry an e-cig on board (they now allow vaping equipment in your cabin baggage).
Ryanair is one of the only airlines that sells a smokeless e-cig that you can use on board. However, all the reports I’ve received indicate that they’re pretty terrible (and very overpriced)!
Like smoking on a plane, vaping is just not worth the risk of fines or jail for a nicotine hit. Our advice - put your earphones in, watch the in-flight movie, and wait for the craving to pass.
Taking an e-cig on a plane - summary
In general, you will be allowed to transport your vape kit to your destination from most countries. If you’re in transit in a country where vaping is illegal, you shouldn’t run into any issues as long as you aren’t leaving the terminal building (even in Dubai where this was still forbidden until very recently).
If your final destination is a country where vaping is illegal (see below), you should still be fine, but be aware that there’s a small risk of having your vape equipment confiscated if you encounter an especially cranky security or customs officer. Follow the guidance above, and double check with your particular airline, or country of choice, before you travel.
Where is it illegal to vape?
The Middle East and Southeast Asia are currently where you may run into the most constraints. However, it is definitely worth noting that, even in most heavily restricted countries, the focus is weighted towards the seller/importer rather than the user. There are many horror stories in the news about people facing heavy fines, or even jail; but these are still very few and far between.
That being said, the following countries are where you would be at the most risk of punishment if caught vaping:
Countries where vaping is banned (with potential jail time)
Currently regarded as the worst country to be caught with an e-cig, vapers face up to 10 years in prison. Reports tell of Thai police using roadblocks to search cars in order to catch people with vaping equipment and levy hefty fines.
Most states within India enforce bans, with further legislation being discussed to make the ban countrywide. Reports of jail time include one Punjabi man who was jailed for three years for selling and using e-cigs.
A total ban, with anyone caught breaking the law facing up to four months in prison.
The use of e-cigs is regulated by the Taiwanese drug laws and is strictly illegal.
Countries where vaping is banned (including nicotine free)
Brunei (heavy fines imposed)
Cuba (this is an odd one as most reports seem to point towards the restrictions being placed on taking e-cigs *out* of the country!)
Dominican Republic (see Cuba)
Egypt (no laws seem to be enforced, even though they are still technically in place)
Hong Kong (after pledging restrictions earlier in the year, HK instead opted for an outright ban in October 18)
Indonesia (reports suggest this is due to change but with heavy tax duties levied on vaping products)
Singapore (heavy fines imposed)
Tunisia (the sale of vaping materials is restricted to government bodies only)
UAE (though this may be about to change)
USA (each state needs to be checked independently as restrictions are not countrywide, and are mainly focused around vaping indoors)
Countries where vaping is banned (except nicotine free)
Australia (the states of Queensland and Northern Territories)
Malaysia (not countrywide)
Check before you travel
This list represents countries which officially state that vaping is illegal. However, even with laws in place, there is still massive uncertainty about how strictly they are enforced. Many travellers report vaping in these countries with no issue. Some say restrictions on usage are heaviest in public places (as with smoking). Plus, even the countries where there is no outright ban in place may still have their own conditions.
There seem to be many grey areas around vaping laws, and rules change all the time, which is why we’ll always advocate doing your own checks before travelling. If you do decide to risk it, our advice would be to travel with inexpensive vape kit that you won’t mind having confiscated if you run into trouble.
Always vape respectfully
Even in countries where vaping isn’t regulated, it’s still unlikely to be as popular as it is in the UK. Some locals may never have seen vaping equipment before; or, in countries where vaping is restricted (or illegal), local attitudes may be heavily influenced by poor quality information, or even out-and-out tobacco lobbyist propaganda. You may find yourself the subject of some inquisitive looks or questions. Bear this in mind before blowing your clouds in public!
Should you have any questions about travelling with your e-cig, or about vaping in general, get in touch. We’re always happy to help.
- Nicola Webster