Comprised of more than 45 nations, Asia is the planet’s largest continent, so it unsurprisingly has some of the world’s most diverse vaping laws. While the e-cigarette industry is largely unregulated in many areas, there are a few places that vapers should avoid. In China, where the e-cig was invented as a smoking cessation device, vaping is seen by many as a safer alternative to tobacco. Other countries, however, have imposed strict bans on e-cigs punishable by fines and even prison time. Below is your comprehensive guide to vaping in Asia and beyond.
The Laws on Vaping in Asia
Like other parts of the world, each country in Asia has its own regulations when it comes to vaping; however, there are a few particular areas vapers should be aware of when traveling through Asia, including Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Vaping in Brunei
In 2010, Brunei banned the importation and sale of e cigs punishable by a fine of $5,000-$10,000. Personal use of e cigs isn’t explicitly prohibited. If you’re caught vaping in a non-smoking area, you could be subject to a $300-$500 fine.
Vaping in Cambodia
E-cigs were outlawed in 2014, but according to sources online, a sizable black market has emerged. The Ashtray Blog also cites comments from vapers who claim they had no issues getting their supplies through customs.
Vaping in Hong Kong
Following Australia’s example, the government of Hong Kong has classified nicotine as a poison. The purchase, sale, distribution and use of e liquids containing nicotine are all criminalized; violators face fines and potential prison sentences. Last year, the Federation of Trade Unions proposed a total ban on vaping in Hong Kong, so e-cigs and e-liquids of all types may soon be prohibited in the country.
Update Oct 2018: The Hong Kong government passed a law that will institute a full ban on the sale, manufacturing, and import of electronic cigarettes. The ban also extend to heat-not-burn(HNB) devices. It appears the Hong Kong Office of Tobacco Control has taken a page from the World Health Organization’s tobacco control groups, by only focusing the new law on negative studies that the WHO has published.
Vaping in Indonesia
Reports from vapers online indicate that although e cigs are illegal in Indonesia, they are still sold openly in tourist-heavy areas. Some vapers claim to have had no issues taking their supplies into Bali, but other travelers have had their stashes confiscated by custom officials at airports.
Vaping in Singapore
Do not bring your e cigs to Singapore. All vaping devices, supplies and accessories are illegal to buy, sell or use. Even taking e cigs through customs can be dangerous; not only could they be confiscated, but you could be accused of smuggling contraband into the country.
Vaping in Thailand
Vaping laws in Thailand are particularly harsh. If you’re caught with an e-cig, you could spend up to a decade in prison. Some travelers have stated on TripAdvisor that they had no problems vaping in public, but there’s no reason to risk going to jail in Thailand.
Vaping in Vietnam
The Vietnamese government has criminalized the use and sale of e-cigs and vaping accessories, yet reports online suggest that you can still easy purchase them from street vendors. Vapers on Reddit claim to have had no problems getting through customs with their supplies.
Vaping in Other Parts of Asia
Other countries view vaping in Asia as a lesser issue, and are not quite as strict as the countries listed above. There are still varying laws vapers must be aware of when traveling to these countries.
Vaping in China
China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of tobacco products. It’s also where e cigs were invented. In fact, China supplies an estimated 90 percent of the entire world’s vapor products. Similar to other large countries like the U.S. and Canada, vaping laws in China vary from region to region. In Shanghai, vaping is only allowed in designated smoking areas. Despite the varying vaping laws, you should have no trouble finding vape shops throughout the country. Just be sure to research local laws before you vape in public.
Vaping in Japan
Vaping is legal, but e-liquids that contain nicotine are not. They are considered an unlicensed medicinal product. Some vapers online claim to have had no issues bringing nicotine-containing e-liquids into the country.
Vaping in Taiwan
As of late 2017, the Taiwanese government is considering regulating e-cigs as pharmaceutical products, which could deal a substantial blow to the industry and prohibit the importation of vaping supplies. In the meantime, Reddit users claim to have carried their devices and e-liquids into Taiwan without being hassled.
Vaping in South Korea
South Korea’s vaping laws are similar to the U.S. in that all e-cigs are regulated as tobacco products. Therefore, e-cigs are legal, but they are expensive and highly taxed.
Vaping in India
The states of Jammu, Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra and Kerala have outlawed the sale of vapor products even though combustible tobacco is still legal. A nationwide ban may also be on the horizon. According to reports from Quora, personal use of e-cigs seems to be tolerated, but shop owners have been arrested for selling vapor products. For now, vapers should have no trouble making it through customs with their personal vaping supplies, but flyers must keep their e-cigs in their carry-on luggage.
Vaping in Malaysia
There’s no national ban on e-cigs in Malaysia. The states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri, Terengganu and Sembilan all prohibit the sale of vapor goods. In Selangor, vaping is illegal in parks, gas stations and all public buildings. Violators could be charged $2,300 or face a two-year prison sentence. Tourists have reported no problems getting their supplies through customs.
Vaping in the Philippines
The Republic of the Philippines has imposed a nationwide ban on smoking in public. The law doesn’t currently cover vaping, but that could soon change according to the Department of Health. As of now, it appears to be safe to bring your e-cigs into the country. Philippines Airlines requires passengers to keep e-cig devices in their carry-on luggage.
Laws are constantly changing, so keep an eye on local news and pending legislation in the places you plan to visit. If you travel to Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam, it might be best to leave your vaping supplies at home. Always avoid vaping in places where smoking is prohibited. Follow these guidelines during your travelings to ensure that vaping in Asia is just as enjoyable as is it at home.