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How to Vape Around the World in 2017 – Part Two: Locales & Housing

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And here we are at Part Two of EVC's Guide to Vaping Around the World! If you've missed the last installment, you can find it right HERE—we covered the many ways people move themselves around the world and how you can make sure that your vape arrives with you safe and sound on the other side.

This time around, we're covering the many places you'll be staying while travelling abroad, whether that be a hotel, a hostel, or the country itself. Each of these locations will have their own set of rules that may need to be followed carefully if you want to avoid a fine or even jail time in a foreign country. But don't worry! As long as you keep these guidelines in mind, you'll be fine. So let's go ahead and dive into the wild world of vaping rules! (Vaping Rules!)

Housing

Hotels

Typically, hotels around the world will be keen to follow local/state indoor rules on smoking, especially as the price for the room increases. Most hotels will have some sort of specific policy around vaping on the premises, so asking the front desk before or during your stay about where you can vape would be a wise move. A good rule of thumb, however: if you can't smoke there, you probably shouldn't vape either.

Keep in mind as well that it's still possible for vapor to set off smoke alarms, especially the high tech ones installed in high-end hotels—once one goes off, ALL the alarms in the hotel are designed to go off as well, no matter what time of day (or night). And in addition to the sheer embarrassment as you start your walk of shame down to the lobby, needlessly setting off the hotel's fire alarm can incur a fee (~$200-$1000) on your final invoice. Ouch...

Ranches / Hike-In Lodging / Bed and Breakfast

When considering the small quarters 15-50 people will be sharing while resting their feet during their respective vacays, it's no wonder that the vaping policy for these types of lodgings is really dependant on each location. Some places treat smoking and vaping the same, some are more relaxed with vaping, and some disallow both from the grounds entirely, so consult the lodging's management before clouding up your room.

Hostels

In the case of group hostels, the quality of the housing and/or occupants may make or break your most excellent vacation experience, so choose wisely! You may be in luck, as some of your fellow travelers may even vape themselves (depending on your location), so if you're running low on vaping supplies, you can always ask your neighbors and roomies where the closest vape shop is.

And make sure to keep a close eye on your belongings while you're there, just in case. If you're provided with a locker on the grounds, feel encouraged to keep your valuables—which includes your vape, obviously—locked up tight and away from prying eyes.

AirBnB

Ask ahead of time! Each owner will have often have more detailed rules for the house beyond the simple "Smoking Allowed/Not Allowed" note they're able to post to the site.

Some owners may be cool (they may even vape themselves), but some owners may not be as vape-educated as others, so they may send you outside (no biggie). Either way, don't be afraid to bring your vape to your new home away from home.

Couchsurfing

When funds are running low, prospects are dim, and you're more than a mere walk away from home, you may need to cutback on your travel expenses, and an easy way to reduce your lodging expenses is by joining a couchsurfing service that will connect you with locals offering cheap housing for a night or two.

While this service is more often a lifesaver than not, you'll need to stay aware of your belongings at all times. There are several reports of someone having their vape gear being stolen while they were residing on a stranger's couch. Keep in mind, though, that most of this pilfered vape gear weren't even stolen by the host, but by an unrelated visitor of the house, so while you probably won't have to sleep with your mod under your pillow, you probably shouldn't leave it behind when you head out the door to explore the city.


Destinations

Now that we've covered your small-scale housing and what preparations you may need (lots of calling ahead, huh?), let's step back and take a look at the big picture by studying the regulations surrounding e-cigarettes in some of the most popular tourist destinations around the world. 

The set of countries in each table is arranged in alphabetical order and grouped according to continent. Use the navigation menu below to quickly navigate to different continents. Enjoy! (Updated 7.27.17)

Continents

North America

Description

Canada

  • Federal Government
    • No Official Federal Regulations as of yet
    • Government Bill S-5 (preliminary version) passed first reading on Nov. 22, 2016:
      • No products appealing to young persons permitted
      • Confectionery, dessert, soft drink, energy drink, and cannabis flavors not permitted
        • This list may be updated at any time
      • No furnishings of e-cigarettes to persons under the age of 18
        • No exceptions for doctors, parents, or guardians
      • No allowances to explain, test, or provide samples to clients & customers
      • Promoting testimonials/endorsements is prohibited
      • Prohibition of advertising relying on appeals to young persons or specific lifestyle benefits
      • All claims of health benefits and harm reduction are prohibited
        • This includes claims verified by peer-reviewed scientific studies
  • Individual provinces will have unique regulations, but for the most part, provinces will all have the following rules:
    • No e-cigarette usage allowed wherever smoking is banned
    • No sales or supply to minors
  • The only exceptions are Alberta and the Northwest Territories/Nunavut/Yukon
    • These areas have no province-wide regulations, but several city councils have passed bylaws banning e-cigarette use wherever tobacco cigarettes are banned as well.

United States

  • Federal ban on purchase and possession of e-cigarettes and e-liquid for under-18yo's
  • Control implemented by FDA
    • Unless you've been walking in and out of your local vape shop as quickly as possible, you've most likely heard about the FDA's recently imposed regulations of e-cigarettes. Most of the details aren't necessarily important to know for international tourists—all you'll need to know is that under-18 sales of e-cigs are banned nationwide.
  • Certain states/localities may have specific regulations

Caribbean

Description

Barbados

  • Treated the same as analogue cigarettes
  • When importing through customs (even individually/for personal use), must pay import tax
  • Usage in public places disallowed

Dominican Republic

  • Officially, there's no ban, but beware when traveling through security/customs—there are several reports of officers confiscating vape gear for unknown/unspecified reasons
  • Before traveling, disassemble your gear completely and store each component in separate places

Haiti

  • Sales, possession and use are totally allowed

Jamaica

  • No restrictions on purchases
  • Any devices/gear being imported for sale need a permit and registration

Europe

Description

All countries in the EU
are under TPD Regulation
  • No e-liquid bottles over 10mL in capacity
  • No nicotine strengths over 20mg (2%)
  • No tanks with a juice capacity over 2mL
  • No incorporated age restrictions—up to the locality to enact age limits
  • No additional smoke-free environment restrictions
  • No flavor restrictions
  • Plan Accordingly

Austria (EU)

  • E-cigs/e-liquid classified as medical products
    • Only sold by licensed sellers
  • No distance (mail-order/online) sales

Belgium (EU)

  • Classified as medical products
  • If less than 2mL or 20mg/mL, sale allowed outside of pharmacy
  • Sales prohibited to <16yo's

Czech Republic (EU)

  • Sales prohibited to <18yo's
  • Sold only at places permitted to sell tobacco products
  • Online sales technically illegal, but not enforced, plenty of native e-commerce
  • Use/sales otherwise unrestricted

Denmark (EU)

  • Classified as medicinal products
    • Must recieve prior authorization to enter market
      • No such authorizations have been given
  • Zero-nic, non-therapeutic e-cigs allowed

Finland (EU)

  • Nicotine considered a prescription drug, can only be obtained from licensed pharmacies
  • Cartridges ≤10mg/mL and ≤.42g per bottle (42mL max)
    • 3-month supply from outside EEA
    • 1-year from inside
  • Nicotine/non-nicotine e-liquid taxed at 0.30€/ml

France (EU)

  • E-liquids considered medical products
  • Sales of ANY "smoking" device or liquid is prohibited to <18yo's

Germany (EU)

  • No age restrictions on usage, only sales

Greece (EU)

  • Nicotine sales prohibited to <18yo's
  • Ban on vaping in public places
  • Specific taxation of vaping products (€0.10/mL)
  • Ban on cross-border online sales (domestic distance sales OK)

Hungary

  • Vaping only allowed where smoking is (non-enclosed spaces, smoking areas, etc.)
  • As of July 1, 2017, HUF70/mL (€0.23/mL) tax added to all e-liquid (nicotine/non-nicotine)

Ireland (EU)

  • Vaping isn't covered by the Irish smoking ban
    • No additional requirements/restrictions beyond TPD regulations

Italy (EU)

  • Sales of nicotine-containing components allowed only for customers over 18 years of age

Netherlands (EU)

  • Sales to under-18yo's banned
  • Otherwise not regulated

Norway

  • Forbidden to use in places where smoking is banned
  • Sale and use are legal
  • Import only from EEA member states

Poland (EU)

  • Sale/use is legal
  • Nicotine sales prohibited to <18yo's
  • Same banned spaces as smoking
  • No online sales allowed

Portugal (EU)

  • Current public smoking ban now applies to e-cigs
  • Highest e-liquid tax in Europe (€0.60/mL)
  • Sales to minors prohibited

Russia

  • Largely unregulated

Spain (EU)

  • Allowed, but only where smoking is as well
  • Not allowed indoors, enclosed spaces, etc.

Sweden (EU)

  • Sales of nicotine e-liquid prohibited to <18yo's
  • Sales otherwise unrestricted

Switzerland

  • E-liquid with nicotine isn't allowed, but zero-nicotine juice is allowed
    • Bring your own nicotine to mix in if you must
  • Recently had tobacco taxation removed

United Kingdom (EU)

  • Closely follows TPD regulations
  • No sales to those under 18 years of age
  • No fines for minors caught in possession/trying to purchase, but there are fines for retailers

Central America

Description

Costa Rica

  • E-cigarettes are referred to as ENDS & classified as tobacco product
  • All advertisements restricted to adults-only avenues
  • Use of nicotine-containing products restricted in enclosed public spaces, similarly to cigarettes

Guatemala

  • Unregulated & openly allowed
  • Marketed as a way around the country's smoke-free laws

Honduras

  • Classified as tobacco products, subject to traditional tobacco regulation
    • Minimum age of purchase is 21
    • Advertisement is prohibited
    • Use in enclosed public spaces is prohibited

Mexico

  • Legally allowed for personal use
  • Several sources report that sales have been allowed since September 2015
    • Bring plenty of juice anyway—shops are few & far between and supplies in Mexico are very dated for the most part

Nicaragua

  • Import, sale, and manufacture is illegal
  • Personal use by tourists is fine

Panama

  • Import, public use, and sales banned

South America

Description

Argentina

  • In May 2011, banned the sales, import and promotion of e-cigarettes
  • Experts claimed e-cigarettes “sabotaged smoking prevention efforts”

Brazil

  • Ban on sale, import, and advertising
  • No real restrictions on personal use
  • Can find small, low-quality shops in big cities

Chile

  • Banned
  • Treated as prescription medicine

Colombia

  • Allowed for personal use and sale

Ecuador

  • Classified as ENDS
  • Advertisements restricted to "≥18yo" outlets
  • Sales restricted from ≤18yo's
  • Otherwise legal for sale and use

Paraguay

  • Allowed

Peru

  • Sales, use, and possession are legal
  • No restrictions in place
  • Several local shops to choose from

Uruguay

  • Banned sales/use
    • Reports of "ethylene glycol" and nicotine in zero-nic labelled juice.
  • Some visitors have managed to get through the country without issues, but still not worth the risk

Venezuela

  • Upon import, any e-cigarette product must be registered as a consumer good, tobacco product, or medicine
    • No products have been registered as of yet
    • Thus, the sale, advertisement, and distribution of e-cigs is illegal
  • Personal use/import should be allowed

Asia

Description

ASEAN
(Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam)

  • Officially, almost all member states have all-encompassing bans (retail sale, importation, possession, use), though personal use is often allowed
    • The exceptions to legal personal use lie in Indonesia, Singapore, and recently Thailand
  • Unofficially, there are often many retailers and sellers to be found operating openly yet "illegally".
    • This is especially true in Indonesia and Thailand, where social media and search trends would suggest a thriving black market for vaping
      • This is supported further by a lack of interest from Indonesian authorities in personal e-cigarette usage
  • Travelers have mixed reports of success and failure when getting their vapes through  ASEAN customs, so it's best to assume the worst by leaving your vape at home where it can't earn you punishments ranging from immediate deportation to years in a foreign prison.

China

  • Import, export, possession and use totally legal
    • What else can you expect from the birthplace of the modern e-cigarette?
  • Some provinces are more strict (Shanghai, Macao, and Hong Kong), holding requirements such as vaping only in smoking areas and outlawing possession entirely.

Japan

  • Generally, only zero-nic juice can be found for sale locally
    • Nicotine-dispensing e-cigs requires a license, of which...there are none.
    • Nicotine-containing juice can be ordered online from an overseas seller for personal use
  • Personal possession and import of e-cigs/accessories is allowed
    • Good for short trip, bad for extended stay
  • Big government push for iQOS and HnB products

Malaysia

  • As a whole, the country considers e-cigs medical devices/products requiring a license for retail
    • These used to be relatively easy to obtain. Pharmacies and specialty shops alike sell vapor products.
  • The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) stopped approving licenses for premises selling e-cigarettes and vape-based products.
    • Store fronts are being raided on a daily basis
    • Black market quickly arose as sellers began operating out of their car trunk.
    • “It is difficult to catch them because when they see us, they immediately close their car boots. Once they do that, there is no legal recourse for us to search their vehicles." the MPAJ president is quoted as saying. "For now, we have given them notice not to do it and will continue to monitor the situation."
  • However, of the 13 semi-independent states making up the Malaysian federation, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Johor, and Kelantan have all enacted total bans on e-smoking and vapor products.
  • Two Malaysian states, Selangor and Petaling Jaya, have hefty fines ($1170 - $2300) for anyone smoking or vaping in public
    • The only exception is in open parking lots.

Philippines

  • The sale of e-cigarettes is entirely unregulated, making it freely available to children and adults alike.
  • Incoming legislation can possibly regulate these sales/use.
    • The Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) was formed to work towards better regulation
      • Consists of store owners, suppliers, and manufacturers of electronic cigarettes and related products

South Korea

  • The sale, manufacture, import, export, and use of electronic cigarettes is entirely legal
  • However, heavy taxation is in place for Korea's tobacco products, which include e-cigs, making it very expensive to vape.

Taiwan

  • All e-cigs and related products require a license for use/possession/sale
    • None have been issued
    • Taiwan's director-general of their "FDA-equivalent" is quoted as saying:
      • "There is no punishment that can be issued if someone is selling e-cigs or using them in smoking-prohibited areas due to the tobacco-specific definition in Taiwan's Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act."

Australia/
New Zealand

Description

Australia

  • Nicotine-less components are without restrictions—This includes:
    • Mere hardware (generally; Queensland is the exception)
    • Zero-nic liqs
  • No preventions on import of liquid nicotine for personally prescribed use
  • For all intents and purposes, let's consider vaping as generally off-limits for Australian tourists
    • Vaping nicotine at all is highly restricted
    • Selling it in local stores is illegal
    • You can bring some juices (as imports made in person via plane or boat are okay) and vape intermittently, but don't count on it being a pleasant or easily managed experience

New Zealand

  • In late March 2017, announcements of incoming changes to the regulatory atmosphere will be arriving mid-2018.
    • E-juice containing nicotine will soon be legalized.
    • Retail avenues will likely open up soon after legislation is passed, meaning visitors can most likely purchase their vape gear with little extra hassle.

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