In many countries of the world, people use e-cigarettes as an alternative to the classic cigarette. Some governments have recognized the potential of e-cigarettes and are promoting steam as a way to quit smoking, such as in New Zealand. However, there are also countries such as Thailand or Singapore where the use of e-cigarettes is strictly punished due to different customs and rules. The question of whether steam should be encouraged or strongly regulated by the respective governments is being debated in some countries for and against e-cigarettes. These controversies lead in part to differentiated regulations for the use and import of e-cigarettes and liquids. One example is the regulation that liquids containing nicotine are classified as smoking cessation drugs or, on the contrary, even as poison – as in Australia. Often, bans on e-cigarettes do not exist, but they do apply to liquids containing nicotine.

USA and Russia: E-cigarettes accepted as a chance to quit smoking

In the United States of America, steam is still allowed, although in the past strict rules and regulations have been considered. However, exactly the opposite is happening today: the American regulatory authority FDA has recognized the potential of the e-cigarette and sees it as an opportunity to stop smoking.

The sale of e-cigarettes and liquids containing nicotine is generally allowed, but the sale to children and teenagers is of course prohibited. However, depending on the state, there are legal restrictions. These include advertising bans and restrictions on vaporization in public places, as they also apply to conventional tobacco cigarettes.

The Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, pleaded in spring 2018 for e-cigarettes to be less regulated and taxed compared to conventional cigarettes. Since the aim is to encourage smokers to stop using harmful tobacco, the vape then presents itself as an alternative. Indeed, about 40% of the Russian population are smokers and every year half a million people suffer the consequences on their health.

The sale and purchase of e-cigarettes or liquids containing nicotine are legal, and the legal restrictions for tobacco cigarettes do not apply to e-cigarettes as well. It is therefore possible to steam smoke in public places, bars or restaurants without restriction.

Vaporization allowed, ban on nicotine e-liquids in some countries

In Hungary, e-cigarettes and vaporization are generally allowed. However, the government prohibits the sale of liquids containing nicotine. However, vacationers are allowed to bring 150 milliliters of this nicotine-containing liquid for their own use.

Similar provisions apply to Israel. In principle, people are allowed to steam, but the sale of liquids containing nicotine is also prohibited in Israel.

In Japan, too, it is not e-cigarettes but liquids containing nicotine that are in the spotlight and in addition to a ban on smoking in public. As in Israel and Hungary, for example, there is also a general ban on the import of liquids containing nicotine, and it is to be expected that liquids containing nicotine will be confiscated upon entry into the country. The government of the island state still allows the use of e-cigarettes, but only in private and not in public. Steamships should expect a fine of about 15 euros for violations.

In Australia, steamers can generally be used for steam cooking, but the sale of e-cigarettes is prohibited in some parts of the country and restricted in other areas. Liquids containing nicotine are banned by the state, as authorities classify such liquids as dangerous poisons under the Medical Devices Act. Vacationers who enter the country with liquids containing nicotine require a special medical permit to import these liquids.

Severe sanctions for steamers in Thailand, and trade banned in Turkey

Particular caution is required for steamers in the land of smiles! The importation of e-cigarettes and liquids into Thailand is prohibited, as confirmed by the customs authorities, and production is subject to severe penalties. Although there is a steamer scene in the country, imported goods are often confiscated. Consumption of steam in public and possession of electronic cigarettes can be punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Other sources even speak of a 10-year sentence.

However, Thai vacationers report that they have had no problems steaming in major cities and that they have also obtained liquids and e-cigarette accessories. However, a Swiss tourist found himself behind bars in the summer of 2017 for steaming and owning an e-cigarette. Among other things, he was threatened with several years in prison, but was finally released on payment of a fine.

The use of e-cigarettes remains legal in Turkey, but the vapors can only escape outside. Those who use their e-cigarettes in areas marked as non-smoking risk heavy fines. Officially, the government also prohibits trade in e-cigarettes and liquids. Commercial importation of e-cigarettes and accessories remains prohibited, and the government does not issue licenses for the opening of stores selling steam products.

Philippines: Steam only in designated areas

In the Philippines, the country’s president, a former chain smoker, is leading his personal fight against smoking, drug use and gambling. He has enacted strict bans and regulations on the advertising, sale and consumption of cigarettes and, at the same time, on e-cigarettes. Although e-cigarettes and liquids are still legal, in public, steaming is only allowed in designated areas. A police task force monitors compliance with the law. In the event of a violation, the law is punishable by a fine of up to 90 euros and even a prison sentence of up to four months.