Vaping in Thailand in 2019 is still illegal with an up to 10 year jail sentence possible for law breakers
Several years after vaping in Thailand was declared to be against the law, it is still surprising how many tourists think they can bring their vaping equipment and e-liquids into Thailand, as they believe that ban does not apply to them.
Yes, it does, it has applied to foreign visitors to Thailand for almost five years, and even though rumors occasionally pop up saying the Thai government is going to end the ban, that has certainly not happened yet.
Why is vaping in Thailand illegal?
Vaping was banned in Thailand for two reasons.
First, the Thai government was concerned about the health implications of vaping due to the unavailability of long-term studies on its effects. The government was also worried that vaping was being deliberately marketed to young people, causing them to start smoking.
Thus, the ban on vaping in Thailand went into effect in 2014, and the severity of the law has not been toned down since.
What does the Thai ban on vaping mean?
This is what the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has to say about the ban on e-cigarettes in the Land of Smiles:
While electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are used around the world as a way of helping people quit smoking, travellers coming to Thailand should be aware that these devices are in fact illegal in the kingdom.
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). This applies both to foreigners and Thais.
There have been recent incidents of foreign travellers who were unaware of the ban facing an on-the-spot fine or being arrested.
Many may ask why a device designed to aid people in quitting the habit is being banned. A government spokesman said the ban was introduced for health reasons and that it was originally suggested because electronic cigarettes were luring young people into smoking.
That ban has been in place since 2014.
Thus, travellers coming to Thailand are advised not to bring any electronic cigarettes with them, nor any item or equipment associated with e-cigarettes; such as, the liquid used in the device.
Likewise, travel agents or tour operators selling Thailand as a destination should make sure their clients are aware of the ban in place on electronic cigarettes.
If that is not enough information for you, this is what the British government warns its citizens when it comes to vaping in Thailand:
Vaporisers (like e-cigarettes and e-baraku) and refills are illegal in Thailand. These items may be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted. Their sale or supply is also banned, and you could face a heavy fine or up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty.
What does this mean for tourists traveling to Thailand?
Regardless of what other tourists may tell you on websites like TripAdvisor (and please don’t listen to random strangers in online forums when it comes to something that could end up with you in jail), it is illegal to bring e-cigarettes or refills of any kind into Thailand. It is also illegal to use vaping equipment in Thailand during your stay.
If you do bring vaping equipment or vape juice to Thailand, your vaping supplies may be confiscated at the airport. You could also be given a hefty fine, and even face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.
If you are not caught with vaping equipment at the airport, and use it during your time in Thailand, if seen by Thai police, you could be arrested, fined and/or jailed.
If you think this could not happen to you, it could.
In the last few years, there have been many reports of tourists being fined or arrested by police for vaping in Thailand. A Thai friend recently witnessed a non-Thai being led away by police for vaping in public in Pattaya. Chances are he had been asked to pay a large on the spot fine, and did not have the money to do so.
Regarding another such incident, the manager of a UK-based travel agency told news media her nephew was caught Thailand smoking an e-cigarette. Thai police fined him the equivalent of £125 (approximately $165). He was lucky he was not also jailed.
She went on to say she now warns every customer booking a trip to the south east Asian country that vaping in Thailand is illegal.
Another tourist, an Australian, was fined $500 U.S. on the spot in late 2018 for being caught vaping in public in Pattaya. He blamed Thailand, although he admitted he had done no research whatsoever before he arrived in the country to even find out if vaping in Thailand was illegal.
Can you buy vaping equipment and e-juice in Thailand in 2019?
Yes, you can, as this is one of the dichotomies of being in the south east Asian country. While certain things are illegal in Thailand, some vendors will still sell them and Thai police may choose to turn a blind eye.
This fact, however, still does not allow you to legally buy vaping equipment or e-juice in Thailand, as it is still banned. That means, even if you buy from a local vendor, and are subsequently caught by Thai police, the same law applies.
Potential arrest. A large fine. A potential 10 year jail term.
In other words, if you do vape and plan a trip to Thailand, please do not bring your vape equipment with you. Plan ahead and figure out a way to manage without it while you are on holiday in Thailand (nicotine gum?). After all, you do not want to get caught and have to pay a huge fine or, in a worst case scenario, spend a few more years in Thailand than you had initially planned.
And yes, while you may not agree with Thailand’s ban on vaping, it is what it is. So, deciding to come to Thailand, you don’t have much of a choice but to accept that. Or to face the consequences if you don’t.
Oh and by the way, just in case you thought you could smoke cigarettes on a Thai beach instead of vaping, you might want to think again about that too!