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This device can bring fines or jail in Thailand

August 18, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

Although there’s no warning about it on Australia’s Smart Traveller government website, if your clients use one of these devices in Thailand, they could face hefty fines or up to 10 years jail.

The offending item is an electronic cigarette. Travel agents in Britain have been alerted to the danger of their clients being arrested and imprisoned for possessing e-cigarettes in Thailand – but no such warning has been passed on to Australian agents.

Smoking e-cigarettes, sometimes known as vaping and seen as a way of giving up smoking, is generally illegal in Australia, though the situation varies and penalties are usually light. In Victoria, for instance, it is not illegal to sell non-nicotine electronic cigarettes to anyone over 18.

Vaping vaporises liquid including nicotine to create a smoking substitute without smoke. Throughout the world, vaping is fairly common among smokers trying to give up traditional tobacco-and-paper cigarettes. In Thailand, however, vaping is illegal and possessing an e-cigarette can be a serious crime.

Various types of e-cigarettes

Britain’s Foreign Office has issued a warning to Britons visiting Thailand:

You can’t bring vaporisers (like e-cigarettes and e-baraku) or refills into Thailand. 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 5 years imprisonment if found guilty. Several British Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporisers and e-cigarettes.

While British travel agents are being urged to warn their clients, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has failed to convey that warning on its website.

Bangkok’s English-language publication The Nation mentioned an article on a British website quoting travel agent Pat Waterton, manager at Langley Travel in Dorset, southern England, saying she had been unaware of the ban until her nephew, James, paid a THB 5400 (AUD 205) fine after being threatened with jail for having an e-cigarette in Bangkok.

An e-cigarette user exhales

Waterton told the UK Travelweekly website: “I got a message from my sister saying James had been arrested in Thailand because he had an e-cigarette. He managed to pay the policeman, who had told him he could go to jail. Ten years seems a long time to go to prison for smoking an e-cigarette.”

The National said a spokesman for the Tourism Authority of Thailand reiterated the UK government’s advice, warning tourists not to bring e-cigarettes into the country.

Waterton told the site: “If I’m selling [travel to] 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.”

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Peter Kelly says:

    So Peter, what is useless AFTA doing about this now that you know?

    I thought that travel agents are supposed to add value.

    In fact what has AFTA done other than destroy travel compensation scheme?

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