With such an uneven playing field when it comes to laws and regulations across different countries, travelling can be quite tricky for vapers. It might be commonplace in the UK, but your destination might not be so accepting since it's still a relatively new concept and many legal systems and societies are struggling to catch up.
Whether you travel for business or leisure, it is best to equip yourself with the correct information.
Rules of Thumb when Travelling with your Vape
The best rule of thumb when travelling with an e-cig vape is to never assume you know the legal and regulatory situation where you’re going. Ignorance can lead to fines or punishments varying from a couple hundred pounds to 10-years imprisonment.
When in doubt, here is some general advice for any vaping traveller:
- Do your own research about relevant laws and regulations to the country of destination by checking the concerned government websites. Don’t assume that vaping is fine and socially acceptable just because you’re in a Western country.
- Call your airline and check on travel restrictions. Get proper advice on whether vape gear is allowed and the recommended handling and packaging for smooth security checks and overall onboard safety.
- Check with airport information personnel days prior to your flight. They will give you an authoritative answer to all your travel concerns.
- Be mindful of your surroundings and respectful of others. Just as there is vaping etiquette in the UK, so too should you be mindful of social norms in other countries and cultures.
- Upon arrival, ask hotel/resort staff whether vaping is allowed. They will probably be some of the best-placed people to advise you on local rules and regulations.
- Always err on the side of caution. It doesn't hurt to ask and one valuable piece of advice might spare you jail time or deportation. If in doubt, don’t risk it.
Vaping and Airline Regulations
Can I bring my vape inside the plane?
Yes, you can. However, this is subject to the regulations of the Civil Aviation Authority and the International Civil Aviation Organization. In some cases, it also depends on the airline if they allow vapes onboard. There are some things to bear in mind when bringing your vape onto the plane:
- All vapes must be stored securely in your hand luggage. A potential safety hazard, vapes and e-cigarettes using lithium batteries have been prohibited in checked luggage. There have been several incidents of fire accidents in the past where these have been accidentally activated.
- If you have mods and vapes with non-removable batteries, the device must be completely switched off or locked to avoid any accidental activation.
- Take off any removable batteries and store in a separate carrying container or better yet, have your own vape case. This prevents mishandling and the contact with other metals causing it to short-circuit. You can travel with a maximum of two batteries.
- Rechargeable batteries allowed must have a watt-hour (Wh) rating between 100 to 160 Wh, while non-rechargeable batteries must only have a maximum 2g of lithium metal content. Most vape batteries are within the prescribed range however, it is best to check the battery and the device as well as the manufacturer's website.
- Empty tanks or atomizers to avoid leakage as a result of fluctuating cabin air pressure inside the plane.
- Limit liquids to 100 ml or smaller and place it in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag with other liquids. If you want to bring more, store it in a larger bottle in your checked luggage.
Can I vape inside the plane?
No. It is prohibited to smoke inside commercial aeroplanes and vapes are regulated the same way as tobacco and regular cigarettes.
Can I charge my batteries inside the plane?
In as much as it is prohibited to use vapes in the aeroplane, you are not allowed to charge batteries to avoid overheating of the device.
Vaping around the World
It is important to note that most countries (including the ones listed below) treat vaping the same as smoking from a legal perspective. Consequently, laws on tobacco also apply to vapes and e-cigarettes.
Selling to minors under the age of 18 is strictly prohibited and its use is banned in public enclosed areas (bars, restaurants, clubs, offices and the like), other outdoor spaces near children (schools and playgrounds), hospital grounds and public transportation.
Here is an overview of vaping rules in the top ten countries most visited by British nationals:
Because of Royal Decree 579/2017, the sale of atomizers over 2ml and e-liquid containers above 10ml has been banned across the country. Before flying, stock-up on e-liquids because there might be difficulty in finding shops. Online selling of e-liquids has strict restrictions too.
A 2017 decree prohibits smoking and vaping in areas where minors are present (schools and establishments intended for the reception, training, and accommodation of minors), public transport, and common and covered workplace areas. Fines are levied for offenders. Always ask a local to be sure!
Selling of e-cigarettes and vapes to minors (under 18 years) is prohibited for nicotine-containing cartridges. Violators caught selling to minors have fines between €250 - €2,000. Vaping is allowed in private homes, open-air areas or special places reserved for smokers. Establishment owners are essentially tolerant and will permit you to vape indoors. Don't risk it though, since police monitoring is intensive. Italy also has one of the toughest taxes levied on e-cigarettes and e-liquids. It is advisable to bring enough e-liquids for the duration of your trip (although don’t go silly as customs authorities might think you're smuggling e-liquids into the country).
Portugal seems to follow Italy in its tough regulations against vaping. The sale of nicotine-containing cartridges is restricted. Reserved smoking areas are available in bars and restaurants while smoking is still generally allowed in some sporting venues. Best to recheck once you're there to see if the laws have changed.
Vaping is a massive industry in the US but keeping track of the laws per state is an extensive undertaking. Here is a list of vape bans across America. As a general rule, selling of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18 is prohibited and buyers under the age of 27 must present valid identification for verification.
Selling vaping products is prohibited for people under 18 years of age but this is relaxed for nicotine-free cartridges and e-liquids.
Rounding up the top ten are The Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, and Belgium. Germany has one of the laxest regulations on vaping and is generally accepted. In Ireland, vaping is not covered under the Irish smoking ban and shops are plentiful. Nonetheless, it is entirely up to the owner of the premises to allow or ban vaping so ask permission first. In the Netherlands vaping is legal and in Belgium nicotine cartridges and e-liquids sold outside of pharmacies can only contain 20mg/ml of nicotine and in not more than 2ml amounts.
List of countries where vaping is restricted: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Hongkong, Hungary, Iran, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland
List of countries where vaping is banned: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Brunei, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Panama, Singapore, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela
Some countries allow the use and importation of personal e-cigarettes but ban the sale of e-liquids, others allow the sale of non-nicotine containing e-liquids only while others ban them completely. Please find a more exhaustive list here.
Vaping and UK Airports
The UK public smoking ban has made it illegal for smoking in enclosed public spaces such as airports. There are designated smoking areas outside of the premises and inside the terminals, where vapers can also access unless otherwise stated by airport management. Locations vary but it is generally before security control and mostly none in the departure gates.
- London Heathrow Airport - Despite having smoking designated areas outside the terminal building, its website specifically states that e-cigarettes are not allowed within its premises. Feedback varies since other websites claim vaping is allowed in the smoking-designated areas.
- London Gatwick Airport - E-cigarettes can only be used in marked areas outside of the terminal buildings.
- Manchester Airport - Terminals 1 and 2 have smoking designated areas after check-in and security control. Whilst in terminal 3, smoking is allowed only in designated areas outside. Usage of e-cigarettes is banned within the airport.
Here is a list containing information on vaping regulations across most other UK airports.
We’ve prepared this guide to give vapers practical travel guidelines, answer key questions relating to air travel and airline regulations and summarise vaping rules in some of the UK's most visited countries. Laws change, so it’s prudent to do the necessary research, even if you’ve been there before. As such, this guide may quickly become out of date, so keep up to date with the situation, wherever you’re travelling to.
If you want advice on picking the best vaping kit for travelling, then why not give us a call on 01179 669309, or drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.