WHAT IS LOOKED AT IN THIS ARTICLE
Whilst England and the UK as a whole has some restrictions on Vaping, under the TPD legislations that were introduced in 2016, these restrictions are pretty tame when comparing them to restrictions that are in place in other countries.
In some countries, it’s legal to possess and use a vape, where in other’s it’s completely outlawed and you could face jail time if caught with an E-Cig. In some countries, you can’t even get hold of e-liquid that contains nicotine unless you have a valid prescription, and other countries don’t even allow flavoured e-liquid to be sold, it’s all a bit crazy really. In this article, I’m going to look into how the laws vary in certain countries, and go in to detail about them, so if you are planning on visiting any of these countries, you’ll be clued up prior to going and won’t get caught on the wrong side of the law.
Countries where vaping is permitted, but has vape juice restrictions in place
A lot of countries around Europe are under the same Tobacco Products Directive regulations that us here in the UK, but there are a select few in Europe that are an exception to this and have their own regulations.
Netherlands – Netherlands have recently announced a ban of all flavoured vape juice apart from tobacco flavours in a move that has caused serious upset in the country amongst their vaping community. The Dutch government produced an “authorised ingredient list” that contain 16 different ingredients that are the only things that can be included in making vape juice going forward, and those ingredients can only make a tobacco flavour e-liquid, which is exactly what the Dutch Government were angling for.
A flavour ban is so damaging to current vapers in the Netherlands, as it poses a massive risk for vapers to end up relapsing and going back to smoking which is far from ideal. Protests were held and people tried to intervene this flavour ban from happening, but It has been passed through the channels and will be effective from January 1st next year.
Finland, Ukraine, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania and Denmark are all of the other countries in Europe where flavoured vape juice is officially prohibited from sale within the country. Flavour bans have proven to be detrimental however, as residents will turn to black market methods to source their flavours, they had become used to.
Norway – In Norway, Vaping is permitted, but only nicotine free e-liquid is sold within the country. It is currently illegal to sell any e-liquid that contains nicotine, but individuals are permitted to import a small amount of nicotine containing e-liquid for their own personal use under certain conditions. I’m unsure what these conditions are as I was unable to find anything about it on my research. Norway is the only country in Europe where there is a nicotine e-liquid ban, which I find quite harsh. However it is expected it could change with the impending review of the regulations that are coming.
Australia – Australia introduced a nicotine ban last year, where e-liquid that contained nicotine was banned from sale, and was only available if people had a valid prescription from their GP, where they could obtain vape juice from a pharmacy. However, this has catastrophically failed and not gone in the direction that the Aus government had hoped. In the last year, Disposable vape usage has increased tenfold due to black market sales, only 1% of GPs actually have the ability to issue prescriptions for nicotine vape juice, and pharmacies haven’t actually had the training to be able to make and dispense e-liquid as suggested in the government guidelines. Like I said, a complete failure and these restrictions are going to be reviewed in due course and something’s got to change to make this more effective.
New Zealand – Keeping on that side of the ocean, New Zealand also have restrictions in place for vape juice, but it’s a lot more lax than that of Australia. General stores can only sell tobacco or mint/menthol vape juice flavours in their shops, but if they are a specialised vape shop, they are allowed to sell any other flavours alongside tobacco and mint.
Problems have arisen with this though, as some general stores are segregating part of their current store and labelling it as a “specialist” vaping section, meaning they can dodge round the rules and sell flavoured vape juices. You’ve got to love their trying!
Japan – Similar to Australia but without a lot less chaos! Nicotine containing vape juice can only be obtained from pharmacies with a valid prescription, and there are plenty of doctors and pharmacies willing to give prescriptions in Japan compared to Australia!
Countries where you can vape, but it’s illegal to sell anything vape related
There are quite a few countries where people are free to vape, however within these countries the sale of electronic cigarettes is banned and classed as illegal. The countries where these restrictions apply are primarily based in the Middle East/Asia, and I’ll detail which ones below.
Turkey, Iran and Egypt – All of these countries share the same restrictions, which is the advertisement, importation and sale of e-cigarettes within these countries are officially prohibited but the actual act of vaping is not illegal. It’s a strange one that people can freely vape in the country, just can’t buy anything to do with vaping! Many people will travel to neighbouring countries and purchase what they need and bring it back (this is not classed as importing so not breaking the law)
What is interesting is Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have any prohibition on vaping, other than the fact all vape juices must be sold in plain brown packaging much like the plain black packaging what cigarettes are packaged like here in the UK.
India – India also prohibits the sale, promotion and import of e-cigarettes and vaping products, which only came into force in 2019. However, smoking rates in the country are the highest of any country, as well as the new found trend which is smokeless tobacco. This is causing death and disease rates to sky rocket though and questions are being raised on whether or not the restrictions on e-cigarettes should be changed to combat this.
Countries where Vaping is completely illegal
Believe it or not there are several countries where Vaping is completely illegal, and having a sneaky puff on your vape will get you a hefty fine and even time in prison if you’re caught!
Qatar – Highlighting this country due to the World Cup happening over there right now. Vaping is completely illegal in the country and anyone caught vaping will face a £2300 fine, and up to 12 weeks prison sentence! They also have quite strict restrictions on smoking as well, so it isn’t just vaping that’s been heavily scrutinized for a change.
There are so many other countries where vaping is completely illegal, and I wont list them all, but I’ll highlight a select few that are popular destinations that people will pick to holiday or travel around. These include;
Thailand, Singapore, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.
It is widely believed that these countries have imposed the restrictions on vaping due to the revenue from cigarettes and tobacco being so high In these countries. Again, this is only speculation but the proof of how much revenue they make from cigarettes is available to read online and it doesn’t take much to put 2 and 2 together…
I hope this article was useful to you to learn a bit more about the regulations of vaping around the world. Like I said at the start, our restrictions are firm and there was a lot of uproar and despair over the changes that were bought in by the TPD directive, but when looking at restrictions of other countries, the restrictions here really aren’t that bad!