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Travelling Brits warned: vaping in these countries could land you in jail 

July 8, 2022

US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives to a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on July 1, 2022. Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying in her luggage vape cartridges with cannabis oil, which could carry a 10-year prison sentence. (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Brits who travel with vapes or e-cigarettes have been urged to check for any restrictions on the devices in their destination – or they could receive a hefty fine or a prison sentence.

The most serious punishments are in the popular destinations of Thailand, Singapore and Australia. Unsuspecting tourists in Thailand could be fined up to 30,000 baht (around £700) or sent to prison for up to 10 years. In Singapore, possessing an e-cigarette could mean a fine of S$2,000 (about £1,200).

Australia recently announced a crackdown on vapes containing nicotine, which now require a doctor’s prescription. To avoid a huge fine of up to A$222,000 (over £125,000), vapers travelling to the country should make certain they don’t take any nicotine e-liquid with them. Some Australian states even impose prison sentences for importing nicotine e-liquid.

“Even as the popularity of vaping increases around the world, the laws surrounding it are constantly changing, so travellers really need up-to-date advice before going anywhere,” Dan Marchant, director of online retailer Vape Club, commented.

“Because the UK has such a progressive attitude towards harm reduction and recognises the huge role vaping has to play in achieving a smokefree future, we tend to forget that there are many other countries around the world who are so far behind us.  How any country can ban vaping over tobacco use is beyond me, and seems completely anti-science and anti-public health.

“However, it’s imperative that any vaper looks into the country’s vaping laws before they go ahead and book their holiday to avoid running in to a difficult situation. If you have booked trip to a country where vaping is banned, it is best not to risk a fine or worse being chucked in a cell. Football fans heading to Qatar for the World Cup need to be especially careful: the penalties there are particularly severe.”

Vaping attracts three months in prison or a fine of up to 10,000 riyals (around £2,200) in Qatar. Other countries that have banned the smoking cessation method include Turkey, Brazil, Japan, the Seychelles and Barbados.

Last year, beaches in popular Spanish destinations such as Barcelona announced a smoking ban, which came into force from 1 July. This is being enforced at 115 of Spain’s 3,514 beaches, including in the Costa Del Sol and Belearic isles. While this is specifically a ban on cigarettes, e-cigarette users should check with the authorities that they’re safe to vape.

“If your destination is open to vaping and you are travelling by plane, please remember this important safety advice. Always keep your batteries and vaping devices in your hand luggage as they need to stay in a pressure controlled environment, and must not be left in your checked baggage,” Marchant added.