Did you know vaping is illegal in these Asian countries?
IN 2014, “vape” was the Oxford Dictionaries’ “Word of the Year.”
By definition, it means “to inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.”
For some, vaping is a way to quit smoking cigarettes. For others, vaping is a sub-culture they can identify with and do for fun.
Whatever the reason for vaping, it is estimated at least 20.8 million people do it worldwide, with Asia being the most prolific continent for vapers.
Malaysians come in at the top of the chart with an estimated one million vapers who spend around US$177 million per a year on vaping and e-cigarette products.
However, state officials are trying to make vaping illegal in public places in Malaysia.
Those caught vaping in public parks and public buildings such as hospitals, post offices and any place with air conditioning could face a hefty fine and even a jail sentence.
Also, under Islam, the official and state-sanctioned religion in Malaysia, vaping and smoking cigarettes is haram meaning “forbidden.”
This is all part of Malaysia’s plan to become completely smoke-free, including vaping, by 2045.
And Malaysia isn’t alone in its quest to eradicate vape culture and e-cigarettes. Nations across Asia are enforcing laws to put an end to this tobacco substitute.
Take a look at the countries where vaping and toking on e-cigarettes can land you in serious trouble.
Singapore has been dubbed one of the cleanest nations in the world. It has a strong stance on littering with repeat offenders facing a fine of up to US$3,700 (SGD5,000) and even jail time.
Littering includes throwing cigarette butts on the ground, and many smokers have been known to carry their own ashtrays around with them.
In a bid to keep Singapore clean, smoking is banned in almost every public place and the sale, distribution, and use of e-cigarettes, even in private spaces, is now prohibited.
Someone caught vaping can be fined up to US$1,500 (SGD2,000) and those found to be buying and selling e-cigarettes will land a US$7,400 (SGD10,000) fine and a six-month jail sentence.
Since November 2014, being in possession of, selling, or buying e-cigarette devices and the refills have been illegal.
The official Tourism Thailand website states, “Enjoy your holiday, but please leave the electronic cigarettes at home. They’re illegal here.”
While vaping may still be a common sight across Thailand, those doing it are breaking the law and could face up to 10 years in jail.
Hong Kong’s current vaping laws only apply to nicotine-based e-cigarettes.
The sale and possession of nicotine e-cigarettes are classified as a Type 1 Poison and anyone found consuming or selling them could face a US$12,800 (HKD100,000) fine and two years in prison.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The sale and import of e-cigarettes have been banned in the UAE since 2009.
All vaping devices and refills attempting to enter the country will also be seized at the border.
The sale and import of electronic cigarettes and shishas in the Sultanate have been illegal since late 2015.
A fine of US$1,299 (RO500) is slapped on anyone caught in possession of vaping equipment.
However, vaping is not considered a crime and the Royal Oman Police won’t arrest perpetrators.
Being in possession of vaping equipment and buying and selling it is illegal in Qatar.
Foreign visitors to the country are not allowed to bring them in and buying equipment from overseas is also illegal.
In 2014, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the nationwide ban on consuming, buying and selling of flavored tobacco products, including shisha and e-cigarettes.
Although many reports state there is a thriving vaping black market in Cambodia, it is not worth the risk of getting caught.
The small sultanate of Brunei banned the import and sale of e-cigarettes in 2010.
Importers and retailers are subject to a fine of around US$5,000 (BND6,800) for a first-time offense.
Personal consumption is not yet outlawed, but if you’re caught smoking in a non-designated area, you’ll be fined US$300 (BND400) as is the case for regular cigarettes too.