Visitors to Thailand have been warned that they risk 10 years in prison for taking e-cigarettes into the country.
In November 2014, Thailand approved legislation outlawing the import of e-cigarettes into the country. This has since been expanded to the export as well as sale of e-smoking devices and equipment.
Although it is common to see people vaping in Thailand, they are actually breaking the law, as even possession is illegal.
The UK’s Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to warn of the ban. The advisory reads: “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 five years imprisonment if found guilty. Several British Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporisers and e-cigarettes.”
Speaking to Travel Weekly, British travel agent Pat Waterton, told how her nephew James was arrested for having an e-cigarette in Bangkok.
He paid a fine of £125 but was told by a policeman that he could have been jailed.
Now she makes sure she warns anyone booking holidays to Thailand about the risk. “If I’m selling Thailand I will definitely mention it now. All agents should.”
Thailand isn’t alone in the ban — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam have also outlawed the import and sale of e-cigarettes.
Thailand has been under military rule since 2014 and there are strict rules in place that govern aspects of everyday life that visitors may not be aware of.
“People have been prosecuted for criticising the 2014 military coup,” the Foreign Office warns. “You should be wary of making political statements in public. Lèse-majesté, [criticism of the monarchy in any form] is a crime which can be broadly interpreted, and carries a long jail sentence.”
This law goes so far as to criminalise stepping on currency bearing a likeness of the king, even accidentally.