Vape Bans: Which Countries Restrict E-Cigarettes?

Official attitudes toward vaping and nicotine vary widely. In the United Kingdom, vaping is essentially encouraged by government health agencies. Because smoking creates a costly burden for the UK’s National Health Service, the country stands to save lives and money if smokers switch to e-cigarettes.

Many other countries also allow a regulated vaping market, but are less enthusiastic about the practice. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has had authority over vapor products since 2016, but has refused to create a plain system of standards for e-cigarettes and e-liquids. Canada somewhat followed the U.K. model for a short time, but has recently imposed nicotine-strength limits and extreme flavor restrictions.

There are more than 40 countries that have some type of ban on vaping—either on possession and use, sales or importation, or a combination. It’s difficult to track all the changes in vaping laws. What we have attempted here is a rundown of the countries that have bans or serious restrictions on vaping or vapor products. There are brief explanations. This isn’t meant as a definitive guide for traveling vapers. If you’re visiting an unfamiliar country you should first check with an up-to-date and reliable source like your country’s embassy, or the travel bureau of the country you’re visiting.

Why do some countries ban vaping?
The World Health Organization (WHO) and its tobacco control arm the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)—a global treaty organization with more than 180 member countries—have encouraged restrictions and bans on e-cigarettes since the earliest products began arriving on European and U.S. shores in 2007. The WHO is a powerful (and often the most powerful) influence on health and smoking policies in many countries—especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where the WHO funds programs that employ many public health professionals.

The FCTC itself is steered by advisers from American anti-smoking organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids—even though the U.S. is not a party to the FCTC treaty. Because these groups oppose vaping and other tobacco harm reduction products, that is the position that’s been adopted by the FCTC, with dire results for smokers in many countries. The FCTC advises its members (most countries) to ban or harshly regulate e-cigarettes, despite the treaty’s founding document listing harm reduction as a pillar of tobacco control.

Most countries depend on tobacco sales, and especially cigarette sales, for tax revenue. In some cases, government officials are honest about their choice to ban or restrict vaping products to preserve tobacco income. Often governments choose to include vapes in their tobacco products regulation, which makes it simpler to impose punitive taxes on consumers. For example, when Indonesia imposed a 57 percent tax on e-cigarettes, a finance ministry official explained that the purpose of the levy was “to limit the consumption of vapes.”

Public vaping is restricted in most countries just like cigarette smoking. If you’re wondering if you can vape in public, you can usually spot another vaper or smoker and ask (or gesture). When in doubt, just don’t do it. Where vaping is illegal, you had better be sure the laws won’t be enforced before you start puffing.

Which countries ban vaping product sales or use?
In some nations, vaping is completely illegal, including both sales and possession. Prohibition is most common in Asia, the Middle East, and South America, although the most famous nicotine ban belongs to Australia, which has now adopted a bizarre prescription-only model for vaping products. Some countries are even more confusing. For example, vaping in Japan is legal and products are sold, except e-liquid with nicotine, which is illegal. But heated tobacco products like IQOS are completely legal and widely used.

Some of these countries have outright bans on use and sales, others just ban sales, and some ban only nicotine or nicotine-containing products. In many countries, the laws are ignored. In others, they’re enforced. Again, check with a reliable source before traveling to any country with vaping gear and e-liquid. If a country is not listed, vaping is either allowed and regulated, or there is no specific law governing e-cigarettes (as of now anyway).

We welcome any new information. If you know of a law that has changed, or a new regulation that affects our list, please make a comment and we will update the list.

The Americas

Antigua and Barbuda
Legal to use, illegal to sell

Legal to use, illegal to sell

Legal to use, illegal to sell

Illegal to sell, except approved medical products

Legal to use, illegal to sell

Legal to use, illegal to import or sell. In February 2020, Mexican president issued a decree banning the import of all vaping products, including zero-nicotine products. There is, however, still a thriving vaping community in the country

Believed illegal to use, illegal to sell nicotine

Legal to use, illegal to sell

Legal to use, illegal to sell

United States
Legal to use, legal to sell—but sales of products not authorized by the FDA became technically illegal as of Sept. 9, 2021. Although no state has banned sales of vaping products outright, many have bans on flavored products or online sales. Some cities, notably San Francisco, have banned all e-cigarette sales

Legal to use, illegal to sell

Legal to use, believed illegal to sell, except approved medical products


Believed legal to use, illegal to sell—but status is uncertain

Believed illegal to use, illegal to sell

Legal to use, believed illegal to sell

Legal to use, illegal to sell—however, the country announced in 2019 its intention to legalize and regulate e-cigarettes

Legal to use, illegal to sell


Bangladesh currently has no laws or regulations specific to vaping. However, in 2021 the government announced it would update the country’s tobacco control law with an outright ban on the sales of e-cigarettes

Legal to use, illegal to sell

Legal to use, illegal to sell most products

Banned: illegal to use, illegal to sell

East Timor
Believed to be banned

In September 2019, the Indian central government banned sales of vaping products outright. The government, well aware that 100 million Indians smoke and that tobacco kills nearly a million people a year, did not make any moves to reduce access to cigarettes. Not coincidentally, the Indian government owns 30 percent of the country’s largest tobacco company

Legal to use, legal to sell devices, illegal to sell nicotine-containing liquid (although individuals can import nicotine-containing products with some restrictions). Heated tobacco products (HTPs) like IQOS are legal and extremely popular

North Korea

Legal to use, illegal to sell nicotine-containing products. Although consumer sales of nicotine-containing products is illegal, Malaysia has a thriving vaping market. Authorities occasionally raid retailers and confiscate products. Sales of all vaping products (even without nicotine) are banned outright in the states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Penang and Terengganu

Believed to be banned, based on an August 2020 article

Legal to use (banned in public), illegal to sell

Banned: illegal to use, illegal to sell. As of 2018, possession is also a crime, punishable by fines of up to $1,500 (US) and even prison time. However, as is the case everywhere, the threat of prosecution doesn’t prevent a thriving black market

Sri Lanka
Legal to use, illegal to sell

Believed legal to use, illegal to sell. Thailand has earned a reputation for enforcing its ban on importation and sales of vaping products with several high-profile incidents in recent years, including detaining vaping tourists for “importation” of banned products

Believed legal to use, illegal to sell

Legal to use, illegal to import or sell. Sale and importation of vaping products is illegal in Turkey, and when the country reaffirmed its ban in 2017, the WHO issued a press release cheering the decision. But the laws are conflicting, and there is a vaping market and a vaping community in Turkey

Legal to use, illegal to possess nicotine without a doctor’s prescription. Importing nicotine illegally can be punished with fines of up to $222,000. Penalties for possession vary from one state to the next, but can also be quite severe


Vatican City
Believed to be banned

The Middle East

Legal to use, illegal to sell—although the country appears to be on the verge of regulating vaping products

Believed legal to use, illegal to sell

Believed legal to use, illegal to sell

Legal to use, illegal to sell

Believed legal to use, illegal to sell

Banned: illegal to use, illegal to sell