Traveling With Your E-CigarettePaul Davies
Whether by train, plane, boat, car, bus or just on a walk, we all wish to take our favourite device and our favourite flavours with us. Our destination is often a place in which we know we can vape – be it a rule-sensible pub or just a friend’s house. However, getting from A to B isn’t always as straight forward as it sounds when it comes to vaping on our travels.
This piece helps explain where and when you can vape, and to give guidance in situations where the rules are a little unknown.
The Legal Status
Australia And New Zealand
Out And About – What’s The Story?
By Plane – Blowing Clouds In The Clouds
On Trains – Rails And Vapes
On Buses – Coaches And Clouds
On Ferries – Sea Salt And Savoury Clouds
The Legal Status of E-Cigarettes Abroad
First of all, it is wise to talk about legislation on a country-to-country basis. If we are planning on going abroad, then we need to know the rules behind the use of electronic cigarettes. And, if they are banned, then we need to ask ourselves whether or not we are willing to take a – not recommended – risk, or if we can just go without vaping (and avoid the use of cigarettes).
In any case, legislation across the globe varies immensely. It is exceptionally difficult to provide an accurate picture of legal and illegal usage, especially considering the fact that local government rules change on a regular basis.
Even so, the basic rules, as they stand at the time of writing, are listed here.
Europe And Russia
Europe is a complicated issue.
Whereas, not long ago, the rules were relaxed in a way that allowed each country to utilise their own guidance on e-cigarettes and e-liquid, the European Union has put its foot down and created a legal draft, known as the Tobacco Products Directive. In theory, this means that every country within the bloc should abide by the directive, but it seems to have got a little skewed, with countries applying lighter or stricter measures.
Many countries within Europe have an unclear rule on their usage – meaning, there isn’t anything written in that particular country’s constitution. This can, in theory, work in a vaper’s favour, but can also prove problematic. In general, if the rules behind a country’s status on electronic cigarettes is unclear, then it wise to do as much last minute research as possible, or to avoid that destination.
Many countries in Europe have a completely legal status, although the TPD regulations are often in full effect. This means that the most common holiday destinations shouldn’t pose a problem to any vaper, but it is still wise to check any latest updates in legislation before you make that booking.
The United Kingdom, on the other hand, is somewhat a mystery in the making. The vote to leave the EU means that the TPD legislation shouldn’t apply for too much longer, although, politicians have said that all directives of law will be passed over before they are scrutinised. Either way, at present, the UK follows the rules of the TPD and allows vaping to be legal.
Other countries have accepted the TPD rules, but tax on electronic cigarette devices and e-liquids on a greater scale than other countries. If you run out of juice, be prepared to pay considerable amounts more.
There are further complications with European countries. Finland, for example, considers nicotine be a prescription-only drug and is, therefore, illegal to sell via retail. However, there are plenty of reports of e-cig use being common in the country without anybody resorting to illegal behaviour.
Russia, in many ways, is the same as Europe. There is no directive like the TPD in place for its member countries, but independent nations impose their own rules on such usage. Many members have an unclear status and vary on a yearly basis. Again, it is wise to check before you book.
Within America, the overall rule is that electronic cigarettes are legal, but their usage and taxation varies, not only from state-to-state, but also from city-to-city. Some states are introducing a total ban on indoor vaping, which will directly effect every establishment, and all federal parks have been subject to vaping regulations for some time – punishment varies from state to state.
At present, America is in as much a mixed bag of rules and regulations as Europe. Establishments tend to follow state rules, or city rules, and some appear to be outside of such boundaries. It is as if the law is being bypassed and the governors’ aren’t particularly bothered about vaping – but, on the other hand, falling foul of the law could be extremely costly.
Beaches, likewise, can be of concern. In New Jersey a bill has been passed to charge anybody caught vaping on their sand between $250 and $1000 dollars. Why there’s such a variation in charge is anybody’s guess, but that’s the way it stands.
Most of America, however, has relaxed or sensible laws regarding e-cigarette use. But, as always, check before hand.
Canada has strange e-cigarette regulation. On the one hand, personal use is allowed, with no legal restrictions on their use. On the other, it has been reported that vape shops require the use of tainted windows, although this can’t be clarified for the entire country. However, it is important to note, that although travelling to Canada with your favourite e-cig shouldn’t be a problem, importing e-liquid is a crime, and are often seized at customs.
In Asia, electronic cigarette use varies from completely acceptable to completely banned.
The – debatable – home of the modern e-cig, China, still has regulations in force, though the stories and reports are often rather conflicting. Most visitors have reported no issues in vaping in China, but there is the possibility that travellers are given a little leeway in this matter. Nicotine use in Hong Kong, on the opposite end of the scale, is a criminal offence, and tanks containing such a chemical can have a hefty fine or imprisonment for up to two years.
India, likewise, is in the same bag of regulation all-sorts as China, with some shop keepers being imprisoned for their sale. Although, to date, there is no such law to state that e-cig use is illegal.
In Indonesia, e-cig use has a blanket ban, although personal use is often accepted, particularly with travellers. Purchasing e-liquid is difficult, but not impossible. Risks taken in this country may be futile, due to their law being completely manufactured.
The laws in Asia, from Japan to Jordan are all conflicting and confusing, and change on a regular basis. Fines may be present, and so may imprisonment.
Of all the continents, Asia is the most difficult in which to present a true safeguard list for vapers.
Australia And New Zealand
Although close in proximity, the rules of vaping couldn’t be any further different between these two countries.
Australia classes nicotine as a Schedule 7 Poison – a rather harsh term for vapers, but nicotine on its own accord is pretty damn deadly. This means that it has limited use where sold, and vape shops have to apply for rather strict licenses in order to sell their e-liquid. At the same time, the Schedule 7 ruling doesn’t actually ban the use of importing e-liquid with a nicotine content. It’s a case of make your own minds up!
New Zealand is a different kettle of fish. Any device, tank or cartridge containing nicotine is illegal. There are plans, thankfully, in the process of being passed in 2018, to allow such use. And, on a stranger note, importation is fine – the tourist trade is obviously strong.
Out And About – What’s The Story With Vaping?
If your destination has been signed and sealed, there’s one other problem that persists – how do you get there? The means of travel you choose can vary immensely in their rules on vaping. Below, we cover the rules as they stand in the United Kingdom. Elsewhere, you must check before travelling. It can be a complicated matter, as the rules change on a rapid basis.
By Plane – Blowing Clouds In The Clouds
E-cig use varies from one airline to another, and their rules are complex in the best of cases. Most airlines allow e-cigs to be taken on your carry-on luggage, with some airlines allowing for a maximum of two spare batteries, but this is not definitive and should be checked before hand. On the other hand, there is a blanket ban on carrying batteries in checked luggage – all batteries have to be carried onboard with the hand luggage.
E-liquids are – generally – easier to handle. Most airlines allow for a small amount of liquid to be carried. This means, however, that you need to think about a destination point in which it is not too difficult to find more juice.
Vaping on an plane is a completely different matter. Every airline has a complete ban on e-cig use, and have had for quite some time. It is possible to use an e-cig, provided by an airline, in some cases, but these have been reported to be the nicotine injection sticks that just don’t have the desired effect.
Another important thing to remember, is that if you are using a mod that uses a clearomiser, then it can act differently with altitude. The best thing to do is to completely empty any juice before boarding, as this can avoid problems when it comes to re-filling upon landing.
On Trains – Rail And Vapes
Again, vaping on trains is pretty much the same as it is on planes. Nearly every company has banned its use. There are, at the time of writing, only two train operators that turn a blind eye, and both are Yorkshire based, and likely to change their minds any time soon.
Of course, trains are a little different in how they deal with custom than airlines. Nearly all of us have witnessed somebody drinking alcohol on a train. The chance, basically, lies with you, but rules are rules, and if you’re caught out, then expect a fine.
On Buses – Coaches and Clouds
Unfortunately, the smoking ban incorporated the use of electronic cigarettes when it was upgraded in directive. This update included the use of electronic cigarettes when it came to public transport. Buses, therefore, do not allow anybody to use their e-cig.
As with trains, however, there is a high likelihood that – on a quiet bus – nobody will complain, but it is still a gamble the vaping community recommend against.
Ferries – The Sea Salt And Savoury Clouds
Most ferry companies ban the use of vaping. But, some boats can be kinda big! There is little reason for any company to disallow vaping in your private room, and in most cases, nobody would know.
And, cruises can take several days, weeks, or months. The decking area allows – in some cases – smoking areas. Vaping, therefore, is allowed in these cases.
It is always wise to check with the ferry company before booking, but a negative reply doesn’t always mean that vaping is banned.
When you travel, the best advice is to use common sense.
First of all, you don’t want to be fined. Secondly, you don’t want to be arrested. And, thirdly, you don’t want to offend.
As annoying as it can be, sometimes refraining from using your e-cig can make your journey all the more enjoyable, in the long run. There is little reason to spoil a holiday, just because we feel the need to vape. And, yes, nicotine is addictive, but it’s important to make your time away more important than a flavour or a hit. It sounds hard, but it’s true.
Also, attitudes towards vaping are endless. While many people on a bus or train will turn a blind eye, there is always the possibility you’ll come across the one idiot that files a complaint. This is not what you want, and most certainly not what the vaping community wants.
We hope that, in time, attitudes towards e-cigs will change. To date, they are being tied into a smoking trend, which is just wrong.
All being well, in the not too distant future, you’ll be free to vape wherever you go, and however you choose to get there.