Lots of people love to vape, but there are plenty of places in the world where vaping is seriously frowned upon. While the majority of nations are keeping their powder dry (so to speak) until more is known about the potential health effects of e-cigarettes, others have decided to err on the side of ignorance, and clamp down on them. In no particular order, here are the world’s most vape-hating nations…
SINGAPORE – BANNED
Singapore is notorious for rigorously policing the health of its citizens – so it’s perhaps no surprise that they’ve taken the draconian route where e-cigs are concerned. Citing health issues alongside worries that vaping could become so fashionable that non-smokers will be inducted into the nicotine contingent, Singapore issued a two-stage ban on the sale of e-cigs last December. Singapore takes it ‘very seriously’when someone contravenes this law, but e-cigs are still being illicitly bought online by the Singapore vaping community. Many Singaporeans, however, have given up vaping entirely. Not only do they not wish to fall afoul of the law, but they also don’t want their health insurance records to be besmirched by the stain of smoking.
BRAZIL – BANNED
Brazil’s rhetoric surrounding their vaping ban is rather more ameliatory than that of Singapore, but the end result is the same. Brazil believes that there is not yet enough evidence to support the assertion that e-cigs are not bad for public health. They have accordingly banned sales of e-cigs in the nation, as they do not want the phenomenon to become entrenched. Brazil is worried that, years from now, it will emerge that e-cigs are profoundly unhealthy (just like smoking), and future governments will have a harder time regulating an entrenched industry than they will simply maintaining a current ban on vaping. Weirdly, the smoking of conventional cigarettes is relatively common in Brazil.
HONG KONG – BANNED (IF CONTAINING NICOTINE)
In Hong Kong, nicotine is classed as a poison, and anyone selling or using it can be subjected to heavy fines or even imprisoned for up to two years. However, e-cigs which do not contain nicotine are perfectly legal. This has created certain policing issues, as it’s hard to tell at a glance whether someone’s e-cig contains nicotine or not. While the sale of nicotine vapours is banned, it’s likely that plenty of Hong Kongers are obtaining them illicitly.
CANADA – IT’S COMPLICATED…
In Canada, the sale of liquids containing nicotine is technically banned. In theory, this should render the sale, purchase, and use of nicotine vapours illegal. However, this is rarely if ever policed, and plenty of Canadians indulge in nicotine vaping without anyone batting an eyelid. Other than this legal technicality, the use of e-cigs in Canada is reasonably unregulated – although this is likely to change as the profile of vaping (and global concerns about it) rises.
FINLAND – FROWNED UPON
Finland takes the issue of marketing very seriously. It has recently opened up its anti-tobacco marketing regulations to include e-cigs. While vaping itself is not illegal, you won’t see e-cigs advertised anywhere in Finland, or even on show in shops. Nicotine cartridges are also prohibited, as nicotine is considered a drug to be obtained via prescription only.
DENMARK – BY PRESCRIPTION ONLY
In Denmark, one can obtain non-nicotine vapes easily. However, if you are looking for a nicotine fix, your cartridges can only come from a doctor. Denmark is also, like many countries, reviewing the health evidence concerning e-cigs, and may tighten regulations is adverse information is received.
ESTONIA – BANNED AND THEN LEGALISED
Estonia is an interesting case for vapers to follow. Estonia’s medical authorities initially issued a blanket ban on e-cigs, but this was overturned in court in 2013. Estonia grudgingly approved e-cigs, but insisted that nicotine cartridges remain a matter for the medical authorities, and insisted that such things could only be prescribed by doctors. They then imposed stringent regulations concerning sizes and strengths of cartridges. However, this all relaxed swiftly, and Estonia now takes a much more liberal view of vaping. Nonetheless, an advertising ban is still in place, and it would not take long to reverse the relaxation of vaping laws if Estonia decides to follow the lead of the vape-haters again.
THE USA – SUBJECT TO NEW REGULATIONS
As of very recently, the FDA has put restrictions on vaping in place – to general outcry from independent vape shops and those who want to quit smoking. Under new FDA rules, anyone who manufactures or sells vapors must register as a tobacco company – with all of the health, safety, registration and taxation regs that this entails. The FDA insists that it’s doing this to get a better handle on the vaping phenomenon in general, but small vaping businesses point out that all of the red tape involved is costly, time consuming, and beyond their reach.
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