You’re a vaper. You know you’re not letting toxic smoke loose with every breath, so you don’t think twice about where you are when you grab for your trusted e-cigarette. What’s more, you’re from the UK, where e-cigarettes are entirely legal. If you feel like a hit of e-liquid, you’ll have a hit of e-liquid, am I right?
In many parts of the world, and even some parts of the UK, I am wrong.
Travelling with an e-cigarette has become slightly more of a tightrope walk as their popularity has risen over recent years. Governments and regulatory bodies are seeing e-cigarettes as things that need to be dealt with or constricted, which can see travelling vapers being stung by rules that they may have never realised existed, or have recently undergone change.
So, as the title so eloquently asks, where you can you vape? Let’s have a look at the rules that apply both inside the UK and abroad, and figure out which parts of this crazy, mixed up world are vape friendly, and which are e-cigarettes’ very own version of George Orwell’s 1984.
E-Cigarette Use in the UK
Happily, the United Kingdom has always been one of the most vape-friendly countries on the planet. With one of the biggest vaping communities in the world, it leads the way in e-cigarette development, vape culture, and thankfully, public e-cigarette use. The general rule is that wherever you’re allowed to breathe, you’re allowed to vape. There are however, some notable exceptions.
While public places generally won’t have any e-cigarette restrictions in place, there are three large sectors that may: businesses, transport and sports stadiums.
For businesses – particularly pubs and restaurants – it’s left entirely in the owner’s hands as to how they deal with the question of on-site vaping. While many of these establishments won’t give a hoot if you’re vaping on their premises, others will. Some notable vape-free eateries and drinkeries include Wetherspoons, Starbucks, Caffe Nero and KFC. In general, privately owned establishments tend to be far more lenient to vapers than international conglomerates.
The enclosed spaces that come with public transport were always going to be tricky ground for vapers. Hence vaping is banned on all national train systems except for Southeastern, and is also forbidden on the London underground. All airports and major UK airlines have a complete ban on vaping, although you are allowed to take your equipment on most planes. Heathrow terminal 4 now has a dedicated vaping area for those who are aching for a puff.
Finally, vaping appears to be banned at all EPL grounds, although how heartily this ban is enforced is an entirely different question.
While going through the ins and outs of all 196 of the world’s countries may be a bit of a stretch, there are a few major asterisks that vapers need to know about if they’re travelling. If you’re planning to visit somewhere that isn’t listed below, it may be worth checking out the Wikipedia article on world e-cig regulation.
Africa – Most of Africa appears to have not legislated when it comes to e-cigs. Egypt has banned sales, but it is still legal to vape with your own gear. South Africa has put a ban on e-liquids with Nicotine, but it doesn’t appear to be working!
Asia – Be careful in this part of the world, as vaping is banned in quite a few countries. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Jordan and Singapore (the country that outlawed bubblegum – unsurprising) all have bans, although again, the enforcement of these bans may be questionable. China, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand all have restrictions.
Australasia – Both Australia and New Zealand have bans on the sale of e-liquids with nicotine, but use is relatively unrestricted.
North America – Vaping in Canada is somewhat pooh-poohed, but the actual laws against vaping are very minimal. Be sure to ask before you vape in a public place. In the US, e-cigs are entirely legal, although their use will vary from state to state, even city to city. Check on the local laws before you vape.
Central and South America – Most countries seem to either treat e-cigs as legal or haven’t introduced a law yet. While places like Mexico and Argentina have banned import and sale, you can still bring in your own equipment for personal use. Brazil and Suriname have complete bans, but they aren’t really enforced.
Europe – The general rule for Europe, particularly for the more developed nations, is that you can vape wherever smoking is allowed. Many countries have bans on the sale of nicotine laden e-liquid, so be sure to stock up before you leave. Lithuania is the one country that appears to have a complete ban.
Antarctica – Don’t blow vapour at the penguins. More of a common courtesy than a law.
The cut-away is that there is no blanket rule for e-cigarette use worldwide. While governments scramble to whip up legislation for the exploding vape scene, travelling vapers will likely be stuck in a state of legislative flux for quite a while yet.
While pleading ignorance is always an option, a better way to go is to investigate the ins and outs of your destination before you get there, and save yourself the devastation of having your beloved e-cigarette confiscated.