The subject of vaping in Thailand has been in the news recently with cases of unsuspecting tourists landing in trouble for smoking e-cigarettes in public. Some tourists have been fined and others detained. It has led the Tourism Authority of Thailand newsroom to issue this advice on their website:
What does the law actually say?
Although I’m not a smoker, I have friends who do/did vape in Thailand. I’m still not sure of the exact wording of the law and nor are they. The only thing that we do all agree on is that there appears to have been a change in policy over the last year which has led to some people vaping in public getting into trouble. Previously, the law appeared to have been aimed at importers and exporters, whereas now it is the vapers themselves who are in the crosshairs of the police.
Advice from foreign governments
The Thai policy on vaping and e-cigarettes has led to some countries and travel agents updating their travel advice. This is the statement issued by the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office on their website:
“You can’t bring vaporisers (like e-cigarettes and e-baraku) or refills into Thailand. These items are likely to be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted. The sale or supply of e-cigarettes and similar devices is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty. Several British Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporisers and e-cigarettes.”
E-cigarettes for sale in Thailand
The contradiction of all this is that vendors in Thailand, on market stalls and online, do still sell e-cigarettes and vaping equipment. Presumably, with the local police either unaware or having ‘agreements’ in place with the vendors.
Smoking of standard cigarettes, a source of considerable revenue for the Thai government, is permitted in Thailand. However, it is illegal to import more than 200 cigarettes per person into Thailand. If caught at customs, transgressors may be fined and the cigarettes will be confiscated.
Visitors should also note that a smoking ban has recently been introduced on a number of Thai beaches. This is for a trial period and doesn’t apply to all beaches in Thailand, but if the trial is deemed successful the ban could be extended. Signs in various languages are in place on the beaches where the smoking ban is in effect and designated smoking areas have been set up for beachgoers.
Smoking Ban for Thailand’s Beaches »