Going abroad during the summer is great, and oftentimes an incredible adventure that you’ll relive for the rest of your life. But in certain, if not many, parts of the world, not doing the right thing and not abiding by nations’ laws can land you in really hot water — and who knew that the humble e-cigarette, box mods or other vape gear could be a culprit?
In some ways, it’s like the usual story: just because something is accepted and normal at home — here in the UK — doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same all over the world. And while you might think it’s nuts to smoke and wise to switch to vaping as a highly effective way to get off cigarettes and become healthier — as the NHS and Public Health England advise — other places, surprisingly, don’t have the same view.
This is because many countries that don’t carry out their own research into the health risks of vaping rely on the World Health Organization (WHO), which also hasn’t carried out any research into vaping compared to the real hazards of smoking. The WHO has so far failed to back e-cigarettes — our health organisations say they’re almost harmless in comparison to cigarettes — and new WHO statistics say at least 8 million people die from tobacco around the world each year. It seems like the global health organisation is deathly behind the time.
WHO tobacco-control executives at their headquarters in Geneva have bizarrely ruled out throwing their substantial weight behind e-cigs. But that aside, where are the places you should watch out for this summer if you’re travelling abroad and hoping to take your vapes along with you? The quick answer is, many. But Thailand probably tops the list of the most dangerous places in the world to try to vape.
Not a Land of Vaping Smiles
The Buddhist Southeast Asian nation of Thailand is, it turns out, one of the worst places in the world to even attempt to use box mods or anything else — and none too Zen about anyone who brings their vape gear into the country and even attempts to vape in public. You might think you’re doing your health a big favour, and your pocket, by vaping instead of smoking, but the upshot is that if you vape in Thailand, you could pay big — up to £1,000 in fines — and even with your liberty, as you could be jailed for 10 years.
You can expect pretty much the same all around Southeast Asia, from Singapore to Indonesia and Hong Kong — and even further south, all the way down to Australia, where vape and vape juice are also illegal. Large parts of the Middle East and South America are off-limits too if you want to whip out your box mod and start vaping, and it can sometimes seem as though the whole world is against e-cigarettes. It’s fine to smoke, and put yourself at risk for all kinds of diseases that may well kill you, but relatively harmless vaping that can keep you off cigarettes? No.
European and US Vaping Welcome
The good news is that a vibrant and growing vaping culture exists in many European countries, and if you’re going to one this summer — say, France, Spain or elsewhere on the continent — you can use your box mods and vape away to your heart’s content and no one will give you a second glance. Thankfully, it’s more or less the same in the United States, although some states have been attempting to restrict the sale of flavoured e-liquids due to fears of teen use, and some places, like San Francisco, have succeeded.
If you are heading abroad to a vape-friendly nation for your summer holidays, be careful how you travel with your vapes. If you’re flying, your airline most probably will not permit you to pack your vape gear into your check-in luggage due to any potential problems with the battery, and instead, you should put your vapes and e-liquid in your carry-on luggage or pockets.
Hopefully soon, more countries around the world will open up to the real benefits of vaping compared to smoking and not put vaping tourists at risk of fines or arrest.