Are e-cigarettes allowed in hand luggage? (And other tips for vaping abroad)
Going abroad on holiday should be a fun relaxing time, but for vapers it can be a bit of a headache. Within Europe it's not usually too complicated. But travelling to other countries can have some issues. Sadly, travelling with an e-cigarette isn’t always as straightforward as it should be. Vaping in places where it’s banned can have very serious consequences. And the last thing you want while you’re on holiday is a fine (or worse!).
Airline rules and countries laws can change, so it's always worth double checking to make sure you comply with their policies. I would always recommend taking as little vaping equipment and supplies as possible, even if it means buying a couple of small pod systems for your trip. Those will attract far less attention than a briefcase full of mech tubes, wire and building tools.
Can I take my e-cigarette on a plane?
Let’s get a couple of things out of the way first, while you may be permitted to take your e-cigarette onto the plane, do not ever be tempted to vape while onboard. Airlines will take a very dim view on that and it is strictly prohibited, it could easily lead to arrest. Also do not charge it on the plane, keep it in your bag out of the way and out of temptation.
According to all the current information I can find, for the vast majority of airlines you will be allowed to bring e-cigarettes and the rest of your vaping gear onto the plane. However, passengers are not allowed to have any of these vape related items in their checked baggage and suitcases other than e-liquid, due to the safety concerns around lithium batteries.
At the security gate you should remove your vaping equipment from your carry-on bag, including any spare batteries. All vaping gear must go through security and you should be prepared to demonstrate that it works and explain what it is if questioned.
When carrying e-liquid through security the same rules apply as they do to any other liquid. No more than 100ml and it needs to be in a clear plastic bag. Anymore and you will need to put it inside your checked luggage. I would suggest avoiding glass bottles for obvious reasons and putting most of it in your checked in baggage. If you have a pod system with pre-filled pods then remove the pods and store them in a sealed plastic bag too. To avoid having anything confiscated, it's always worth checking your airline’s exact policy before you fly. Airlines are very familiar with e-cigarettes these days, thankfully.
If your batteries are removable then take them out and put them in a secure battery case. I would recommend the Chubby Gorilla cases if you can find them, they are very strong and inexpensive. You can buy cheaper cases which will do the job but they aren't as robust. Be sensible and be responsible. There will no doubt be ongoing questions about the safety of bringing vaping devices onto a plane, the more we do to prevent accidents happening, the easier it will be for all of us to travel with them in the future. Respect the rules and regulations for the airline, they are there for everyone's safety.
Can I vape at the airport?
Many, if not all, UK airports have banned vaping in the terminals. Some do have dedicated areas for vaping. This could be in the smoking area unfortunately, but some airports like Heathrow do have a specific vaping area which is great to see and hopefully the rest will follow. Before setting off it's worth checking to see if you can vape at the airport terminal, if not you'll need to finish vaping before you get there. If you know this in advance it will be far less stressful.
Which countries can I vape in?
International travel outside of Europe can be very difficult if you are going to countries with a far less progressive attitude to vaping. Certain countries have strict laws and restrictions on vaping. Some countries have banned vaping altogether, others have certain areas and even certain cities where vaping is prohibited. Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and other parts of Asia can be particularly problematic. A friend of mine recently went on a trip to Thailand and was advised not to bring any vaping equipment into the country. It's classed as importing illegal goods into the country and you could face a huge fine or even be detained and given a prison sentence, not a great way to start your holiday!
The current rules and regulations in the specific countries you are visiting should be looked into carefully before making your trip as they could change at any time. Even if it appears that the country you are going to is fine with vaping it's worth asking before puffing away in a location you are unsure about. It might not be illegal but it could still be considered rude or inconsiderate.
There are lists of countries that have banned vaping altogether online but many of them appear out of date and things are always changing quickly. Therefore my recommendation is that you always check a few weeks before you leave. Not only the country you are visiting, but the area you will be staying in and any restrictions on bringing your e-cigarette with you. Knowledge is everything, so make sure you do your homework. It will make the difference between having a relaxing holiday or a slightly stressful one.
If the country you are visiting has totally banned vaping, then there isn't much you can do other than go somewhere else, get through your holiday without vaping or do as my friend did in Thailand as a last resort and smoke for the time he was there. Clearly that was a difficult decision and he didn't really enjoy it but he felt he had little choice. I'm glad to say he managed to keep the smoking to a minimum there and went straight back to his e-cigarette when he returned. But it is sad and frustrating that he felt he had to do that as someone who's not had a cigarette for over 3 years.
The UK is one of the leading countries when it comes to harm reduction and vaping. Just recently we've even seen e-cigarette outlets opening in hospitals, while some parts of the world are actively preventing people from having that choice at all. More than often it's about money and politics and it's worth remembering that while we get annoyed at the bad publicity some news articles bring, we are lucky that we have the ability to use these products. Our government and health professionals are largely supportive and see its benefits, that isn't the case everywhere.
Check with your airline, research the country you are going to thoroughly. Follow the rules, stay safe and have a great holiday.
Simon - My Vape Box