Vaping, whilst seen as a contentious issue by many, has grown into a worldwide phenomenon which stretches across the globe. What was just a humble invention by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik back in 2003 has snowballed into a billion dollar industry which arguably threatens to break the stronghold of cigarette addiction on society. Advocated for by some of the most admired public health organisations in the world as a viable alternative to smoking, it’s pretty rare nowadays to not know someone who vapes or has vaped.
Despite being socially acceptable in the majority of countries, there are still many nations which hold Draconian laws on the purchase and use of e-cigarettes. As well as this, the laws on travel restrictions of vape items are extremely inconsistent and can provide citizens with confusion when making their way to the airport.
We examine certain countries’ stance towards e-cigarettes through their respective legislation, taking vape products through airport security and what to expect, whilst offering some helpful tips to vapers who are looking to go abroad with their vape equipment.
Preparation & Prohibition
It’s always advised no matter where you’re travelling to or from, to always plan ahead. We’ve all seen Home Alone, making an itinerary check list has been known to avoid any mishaps or forgetting any vital items. With vaping however, unfortunately there’s more you need to do in order to stay ahead of the curve and that means doing some up to date research beforehand. It’s always recommended to keep checking back online whether vaping is legal or restricted in your destination. This is made easy with Vape Club’s handy travel guide which features a regularly updated list of all the countries where vaping is banned or restricted.
Most of these nations wherein vaping is prohibited lie in South America or Asia and include popular holiday destinations such as Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia. However even countries such as South Africa and Australia have heavy restrictions regarding the use of vape products, so it’s always wise to research in-depth.
It’s also worth noting that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the worst affected industries is no doubt air travel and the aviation sector. It’s predicted that airlines will feel the immense shock of Coronavirus for years to come, as will most industries, however with so much reliance on air travel from all corners of the globe, the magnitude of recovery and disruption cannot be underestimated. Already, there are over 20 million seats unoccupied compared to what was predicted before COVID-19 took flight so to speak. As well as this, many airlines such as Flybe, Virgin Australia and Trans States Airlines have declared all operations ceased over the course of the past month due to the drastic drop of people attempting to fly.
This may potentially impact the level of security at airports once everything is up and running again, with restrictions likely to become even more stringent as a result of the aftermath of the deadly virus. With airlines, and the economy in general, so severely hit by Coronavirus, many airports could possibly be extra vigilant as to what’s allowed and not allowed on the plane which could invariably link to vaping products due to their controversial nature.
COVID-19 & Vaping
There’s also the rumour that vape clouds can transmit the virus, which Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs at PHE, wholeheartedly disagrees with, “Public Health England’s 2018 independent evidence review found that to date, there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders. There is currently no evidence that coronavirus can be caught from exposure to e-cigarette vapour.”
As well as this Leading academic Physician and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Dr Neal Benowitz states,” It is my understanding that exhaled e-cigarette vapor consists of very small particles of water, propylene glycol and glycerin and flavor chemicals, not droplets of saliva. The vaping aerosol evaporates very quickly, while particles that are emitted when coughing or sneezing are large particles that persist in the air for a relatively long period of time. Thus, I would not think that vapers present any risk of spreading COVID-19, unless they are coughing when they exhale the vapor.”
Despite this, the number of scare-mongering and ill researched news reports linking COVID-19 to vaping will no doubt increase the skepticism. Therefore, as well as checking your destination country’s stance in vaping, it’s always worth extensively researching the airport and airline’s regulations on carrying vape products as these could be revised and altered at the drop of a hat.
Helpful Tips & Advice
Many vape kits also contain removable batteries (usually 18650, 20700 or 21700), which whilst offering an increase in performance, come with their safety requirements. It’s always recommended to remove batteries from your device whenever you travel and especially so if boarding an aircraft. This is due to the small chance of the device misfiring, which is extremely dangerous when over 30,000 feet in the sky. For this reason, it’s recommended to pack batteries within a protective case in hand luggage as a technical malfunction in hold baggage could be disastrous.
In terms of e-liquid wise, most airlines have a 100ml restriction per container and it’s always advised to make sure all of your e-liquids are in a transparent, resealable bag (provided at airports) with the overall capacity not exceeding 1 litre. This will help contain any potential leaks which may happen due to pressure changes. Airplane cabins are pressurised, however cabin air pressure at cruising altitude is lower than sea level air pressure, therefore the risk of leakage is increased. Most of these recommendations are somewhat common sense to the regular traveller, however it’s surprising what you can forget when in a rush to make your flight.
This level of care and attention beforehand will no doubt leave you worry-free when checking in luggage and getting ready to board. In the wise words of Benjamin Franklin,’ by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail’.
As mentioned previously, the need to do your research beforehand is essential and could be the difference between having a great holiday or having a brush with the law. This is even further important within the current climate and especially post-Coronavirus.
Author Bio: Jack Garofalo is a freelance writer who documents music, art and culture for a variety of outlets including Red Bull, TRENCH, Dazed and The Source. He enjoys playing sports, travelling, cooking obscure food, spending time with his son Luca and throwing sticks for his dog Squash.
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