Traveling with e-cigs can be risky in some places. A few countries have banned vaping altogether, so you could have your e-cigs confiscated or even find yourself in legal trouble. This installment of White Cloud’s Vaper’s Guide to Traveling will explore the vaping laws of Central and South America.
Vaping Laws in Central and South America
Vaping regulations in the Latin American countries range from nonexistent to downright draconian. Before traveling with e cigs, do extensive research, and leave your e-cigs at home if you have concerns about getting in trouble. Nothing ruins a trip abroad more than a mandatory visit to the local courthouse.
Nonetheless, don’t take this guide as legal advice. Gathering accurate information about the laws in foreign countries can be time consuming, and local jurisdictions can impose their own vaping regulations, so use this guide just as a starting point to steer your research. The following information has been complied from accounts of vapers who have actually traveled with e-cigs in these countries.
Vaping in Central America
Central American countries tend to have less restrictive vaping laws than other places in the western hemisphere. One country has even medically approved e-cig use specifically to help with smoking cessation.
Vaping in Costa Rica
E-cigs and e-liquids are regulated as tobacco products, so vaping is permitted anywhere that smoking is permitted.
Vaping in El Salvador
Public vaping is legal in many places. Doctors can even issue medical cards, which explain that e-cigs are smoking cessation aids, and that they pose no danger to bystanders.
Vaping in Honduras
Vaping is subject to the same laws as smoking, which means no vaping indoors.
Vaping in Nicaragua
A few years ago, a horror story surfaced online about an American who was locked up in Managua, Nicaragua for possessing e-liquids because liquid nicotine is banned in the country. Vaping laws appear to be changing because Reddit users have since reported taking vapor products through customs with no problems.
Vaping in Panama
The importation and sale of e-cigs is illegal in Panama, but personal use of vapor products is generally tolerated.
Vaping in South America
Some South American countries ban vaping altogether, so taking your e-cigs could land you in serious trouble. Since enforcement is often left up to local authorities, you might find vape shops in places where they are technically illegal, but be weary of buying e-liquids abroad. When traveling with e-cigs, take the absolute minimum of vaping supplies you need to avoid issues with customs officials. If a customs officer tries to confiscate your vapor products, just cooperate and cut your losses so they don’t suspect you of smuggling with intent to distribute.
Vaping in Argentina
Vaping is illegal throughout the country. You cannot legally purchase, sell or import e-cigs, and even nicotine free e cigs are banned.
Vaping in Brazil
Vaping was criminalized in 2014. You can’t buy, sell or even use e-cigs. The country’s public health agency, Anvisa, has led an effective campaign to label e-cigs as “tobacco imitation.”
Vaping in Colombia
The country’s e-cig laws are unclear, but Colombia is hosting the first Central and South American Vape Expo in the late summer of 2017, so it’s certainly OK to vape there.
Vaping in Peru
You might be able to find vape shops in Peru since there are no known regulations against them.
Vaping in Venezuela
The purchase and sale of e-cigs were presumably banned in Venezuela, but the federal vaping laws are ambiguous.
If you plan on traveling with e-cigs to any countries not covered in this guide, conduct your own research prior to your trip. Laws change, so keep an eye out for pending legislation and the current political climate whenever you travel to a new place.