By: Nicholas King.
Last Updated: December 20th, 2018.
Travelling the world is a beautiful thing. You get to experience different cultures, eat all kinds of new food and see gorgeous people with whom you may or may not have much in common. Thailand, also known as ‘The Land of Smiles’ is one of the most visited places in the world. It is popular mostly because of its beautiful tropical climate, wonderful beaches and affordability. It is no wonder that it is a favorite destination for many tourists. But, as scenic and exciting as this country are, did you know that tourists can face 10 years in prison for vaping in Thailand?
This covers all types of vaping, so if you have a mech mod that you think is discrete enough to get away with, then think again! We would not even recommend the cigalike ecigs as it’s just not worth the risk!
As a tourist, there are some laws belonging to the destination country that you may not know. How would you? Unless you are trained lawyers, there are probably laws within your own countries penal code that you do not know. That being said, ignorance is never a defense in any country. It is therefore important to, at the very least try and educate yourself about some laws that would directly affect your quality of stay in different places.
A good example would be that tourists face 10 years in prison for vaping in Thailand as reported first in the Independent. In Thailand, the ban on vaping was introduced as law in 2014. Foreigners found taking e-cigarettes or any vaping device into the country face a steep fine or jail time. The problem is that most tourists are not exactly aware of this law and could face these charges once they visit Thailand.
The ban dictates that you cannot bring e-cigarettes nor refills into Thailand. If found, these products will be confiscated and the perpetrator fined or jailed for a term of up to 10 years. You are also prohibited from selling e-cigarettes or any similar devices. If found selling such items, you would face a hefty fine or a jail term of up to 5 years. There have been several British Nationals who have been arrested for the possession and use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers in Thailand. The UK Government travel advise is clear, and states not to bring vaporizers of any kind into the country.
So why have they banned vaping and electronic cigarettes? Well, this goes back some years when little was known about the safety of electronic cigarettes, when many believed it could actually be worse for you than traditional cigarettes. You probably remember the headlines where newspapers and medical reports showed connections to vaping and popcorn lung, along with some pictures and stories of ecigs exploding. All this early and less than credible research pushed Thailand to initiate a ban on the products until further notice. Many also believe that the tobacco industry is paying millions to keep the ban imposed to improve sales of their traditional cigarettes, we all know that the tobacco giants make the majority of their money in these countries, but to prove this is rather difficult!
Although too many to list here, there are other laws that Govern Thailand that all tourists should know about; just like there are bizarre laws in many different countries of the world. The most outstanding, yet little known Thai laws that might affect tourists include:
These are just a few examples that might lead to a very unpleasant encounter with the long arm of the law in Thailand. Because the country has been under military rule since 2014, there are very strict guidelines that govern day to day existence. Although still very beautiful and highly welcoming to tourists, you should liaise with a local just to make sure that you are not unwittingly breaking any laws that could land you in jail.
As a rule of thumb, when travelling to any country abroad, it is best to study a bit of the culture and learn a few things about what would be expected of you once you land. For example, it is important to learn that it is prohibited to show public acts of affection in Dubai and so on. All it would take is a little Google search and you might save yourself a whole lot of grief.
But just to ensure that you are on the safe side, talk to your consulate and visit the Foreign Office website for the latest updates about your desired destination. You should also have a lengthy discussion with your travel agent just to get a few tips on what NOT to do when you land.
Additionally, to avoid any blushes, write down a list of your favorite habits (drinking, listening to loud music, vaping) and all the things you would like to do when on vacation. Use the list to cross-reference any laws that you might be breaking should you indulge when you arrive at your destination. The best thing is that most Foreign ministries are more than happy to provide tourists with this information, all you have to do is ask and you just might avoid being another unfortunate statistic and cautionary tale. Be smart and proactive to ensure that you have a wonderful stay and a safe return.
If your vacating or visiting Thailand and enjoy vaping, leave it at home! Don’t be tempted to hide it in your luggage as you may be fined around $500 or even imprisoned. Keep an eye on their travel site to see if anything changes, but as of now, stay safe and enjoy your vacation!
Edit 23rd Nov 2017: Thanks to one of our readers, (thank you Phil Lowney) who clearly clarified the situation with vaping in Thailand we can update you that the Thailand authorities will allow you to bring in vaping devices for personal use, this means that you can only bring in enough e-liquid for your duration and also a single vaping device. You are still not allowed to vape in public, and you vape mod may be confiscated, you may also still get into trouble with possible prison time. So be careful!
Edit 11th Dec 2017: According to our reader, who contacted Thailand Airport police, they are now stating: “Electronic cigarettes are now considered very illegal in Thailand. Do not import, do not sell, and do not possess”! Consider yourself warned!