Tourists Vaping In Thailand Warned They Face Fines, Arrest And ‘Jail Time’

Steve Birr | Contributor

Tourists vacationing in Thailand are being warned to leave their electronic cigarettes behind or risk massive fines and possible imprisonment.

The Israeli foreign ministry issued an advisory outlining Thailand’s strict policy towards vapor products Thursday after an elderly couple from Israel were detained, fined and threatened with arrest for possession of an e-cigarette. The travel alert warns that tourists found in violation of the vaping ban are not exempt from Thailand’s severe legal penalties, that include being, “fined, tried, and imprisoned,” reports The Jerusalem Post.

It appears many tourists do not know the risks they face when traveling to Thailand with a vapor product. The alert from the foreign ministry directs travelers to a recent advisory from Thailand’s embassy in Washington, D.C., that says, “There have been recent incidents of foreign travelers who were unaware of the ban facing an on-the-spot fine or being arrested.”

“Enjoy your Thailand holiday, but please leave the electronic cigarettes at home. They’re illegal here,” says the message from Thailand’s Washington embassy, according to The Jerusalem Post. “Anyone found breaking this law by using an electronic cigarette – or vaping – in Thailand could be arrested and face jail time, or a fine several times the value of the illegal item(s).”

Lawmakers in Thailand officially banned the importation of vaping devices in November 2014. The measure was subsequently reformed to include a ban on selling vapes and exporting the devices. Bringing the device into the country or using it can carry a 10-year prison penalty, while selling or supplying the devices is punishable by five years behind bars.

Officials in the United Kingdom have previously warned citizens visiting Thailand to leave their vapor products behind, noting, “several British Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporizers and e-cigarettes.”

Tourists vacationing in Singapore will soon face the same challenges when it comes to traveling with their e-cigarette. A new law taking effect Feb. 1 will ban the sale and use of e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco throughout the country.

The importation and sale of vapor products is currently illegal, but smokers who get their hands on the devices were free to use them without penalty. Under new amendments to Singapore’s Tobacco Act, possession and use of the products is banned, along with smokeless tobacco products and shisha.

Officials with the Ministry of Health announced Friday that violators of the new rules, including tourists, can face fines of up to $2,000.

In a world with vastly differing laws governing alternative smoking technologies, vapers should take extra precautions before vacationing with their favorite electronic nicotine device.

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Steve Birr

Contributor

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