Vaping laws vary not just from country to country, but also from state to state and city to city. When traveling with e-cigs in the North American countries, you should always be aware of local vaping regulations so you don’t get in trouble for vaping in the wrong place. Whether you’re going by car, train or plane, you should also know what to expect when going through security and customs. Our Vaper’s Travel Guide series serves as your starting point for staying safe while taking your e-cigarettes abroad.
Vaping Regulations in North America
Canada, the United States and Mexico have trade agreements that allow for the free flow of goods between the countries. Nonetheless, governments in each country have the power to impose further regulations and restrictions on products like e cigs. If you’re traveling between countries and are wondering about the rules regarding bringing e cigs on planes, then check with your airline to find out if you can carry your e cigs and e-liquids onboard. The US banned certain e-cig devices and batteries in checked luggage back in 2015, but you can likely keep small quantities in your carry-on luggage. It’s not a good idea to mail your e-liquids to your destination because they could be seized by customs officials; however, if you have to go through customs when crossing the boarder, you’ll be less likely to have any issues.
Vaping Laws in the United States
In August 2016, the FDA officially classified e cigs as tobacco products, so all vaping products in the US are now subject to the same regulations that apply to tobacco companies. The regulations were expected to force the majority of small vape companies out of business by November 2018; however, the new FDA director brought some hopeful news to the U.S. vaping industry when he announced a new approach to FDA vaping regulations, which included a four-year extension for premarket tobacco applications so vape businesses can continue selling their products for another five years.
E cigs can be bought or sold in every state, but many states and city governments have created their own laws to regulate where you can vape. Despite numerous studies suggesting that second hand vapor poses no threat to bystanders, many metropolitan areas like New York City restrict public vaping to designated smoking areas. Many states have banned public indoor vaping, while several Californian cities including Santa Cruz, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco have banned vaping at public parks and beaches. Pending Senate Bill 386 aims to outlaw vaping at all of California’s public parks and beaches.
Related: Top Places to Vape In the U.S.
As with smoking, the federal government can restrict vaping on federal land; for example, vaping has been banned in all national parks since September 2015.
Vaping Laws in Canada
Although taking your e-cigs across the Canadian boarder shouldn’t be an issue, consumers cannot legally import e-cigs via mail in the country. As a general rule, vaping is prohibited anywhere that doesn’t allow smoking. British Columbia has also banned vaping in most workplaces, parks and beaches. CBC News actually put together a very handy list of vaping laws in each province.
Unfortunately, the Canadian government seems to be taking the same approach as the American FDA when it comes to regulating e-cigs as tobacco products. Most disturbingly, pending bill S-5 could make it a crime to claim that vaping is less harmful than smoking despite dozens of academic studies suggesting that the minimal amount of ingredients in e liquids are nearly harmless when compared to the chemicals in cigarettes.
Vaping Laws in Mexico
While e-cig use is permitted in Mexico, the government has outlawed the sale and importation of vaping goods. Therefore, if you’re traveling with e-cigs, you should only carry the minimum amount you need to get by, or a customs official may suspect that you intend to distribute. If this happens, you should cooperate and cut your losses, but plenty of people take their e-cigs across the southern boarder with no issues.
Even though selling e-cigs is technically illegal throughout the country, you may still find vape shops around because enforcement is usually left to local governments. The federal government started cracking down in 2015 when it closed two major vape shops in the nation’s capital; however, oddly enough, Mexico City just hosted the 2017 Vape Town Convention in June of this year. You’re safe vaping anywhere that allows smoking, but you may have trouble finding vaping supplies depending on where you go.
In the next installment of our Vaper’s Travel Guide, we’ll explore vaping laws in the Central and South American countries.