TRAVELERS to Thailand have been warned against using electronic cigarettes in the kingdom as they run the risk of being jailed for up to 10 years.
British travel agent Pat Waterton who was unaware of the ban, said she learned of the law after her nephew was threatened with jail for possessing an e-cigarette, also known as a vaping device, in Bangkok recently.
After being stopped by authorities in the Thai capital, he was also forced to pay an on-the-spot THB5,300 (US$161) fine.
According to Travel Weekly, Waterton, a manager at Langley Travel, issued the strong reminder to customers as Thailand was a popular destination for tourists.
“If I’m selling Thailand I will definitely mention it now. All agents should. Thailand is very popular so we should make sure we are telling people about things that could ruin a holiday,” she was quoted as saying.
Since 2014, Thailand outlawed the import and export of e-cigarettes. The government has also banned the sale of the e-cigarette devices and equipment.
While people vaping in the streets of Thailand was a common sight, offenders are technically breaking the law for possessing the device.
Britain’s advisory on e-cigarettes to Thailand explicitly warns travelers not to bring vape devices or its refills into Thailand, The Independent reported.
“These items are likely to be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted,” the advisory read.
“The sale or supply of e-cigarettes and similar devices is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to five years imprisonment if found guilty. Several British Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporizers and e-cigarettes.”
Kuoni, another UK tour operator, which handles trips to Thailand, said it was important for travelers to check with the Foreign Office before going on a trip.
“We encourage our customers to be travel aware and to visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Travel Aware site for foreign travel advice before they book,” a Kuoni spokesman said.
“Travel Aware information can be found on our website and our Personal Travel Experts in store direct customers to the site at holiday planning stages for specific country advice, including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings and health.”