BANGKOK – A travel agent is urging others to tell their customers not to vape in Thailand as they could face up to 10 years in prison.
Pat Waterton, manager at Langley Travel, said she was unaware of the ban. She only learnt of the law when her nephew James was forced to pay £125 as an on-the-spot fine after being threatened with jail for having an e-cigarette in Bangkok
Speaking to Travel Weekly Waterton said: “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.”
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 offenders are technically breaking the law as possession is illegal.
The Foreign Office advice is clear. On its website it instructs travellers not to bring vaporisers (like e-cigarettes) or refills into Thailand. The Foreign Office said: “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 Foreign Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporisers and e-cigarettes.”
Last month a Swiss man was apparently arrested and charged with “importation” of e-cigarettes for vaping in public in Thailand. He was arrested, led away, and sat six days in jail. He is now free on bail while he awaits trial.
Kuoni Travel, a UK tour operator which handles trips to Thailand, said it always advises travellers to check with the Foreign Office before embarking on a trip. A spokesperson for Kuoni said: “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.
“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.”
To learn more about vaping in Thailand a website was created called Thailand Vapers, an English language forum for members in Thailand and the rest of Asia to talk about vaping.
By Ravneet Ahluwalia