Leaving the U.S. cause of the Presidential Election? Understand Vaping Laws in Canada and Mexico First

November 09, 2016

Leaving the U.S. cause of the Presidential Election? Understand Vaping Laws in Canada and Mexico First

After a long year of arguing with friends and family on Facebook, the 2016 Presidential election is finally over and we can all go back to our vices. Of course, there’s some good news too.

Now that the election is over, I believe there are some of you who need to follow up on your promises to leave the country. Better hurry before the wall goes up.

To help with your move, we’ve gathered the important information you need to know about bringing your vape equipment with you across the border and using it on the other side.


Vaping in Canada

Like the U.S., Canada leaves vaping regulation largely up to local municipalities. In most places, it’s currently legal, but there are regulations banning vaping indoors in several Canadian provinces including Ontario, British Columbia, and Manitoba.

In addition, several large cities within unrestricted provinces like Calgary impose stricter rules. Just like when traveling in the U.S., you’ll need to be careful when traveling in Canada to check local vaping laws. Don’t forget to use .ca instead of .com when surfing the web for your vaping gear, as it’s now your official web extension.

Quebec has some of the most restrictive ecigarette laws in Canada, called Bill 44, which even limits web and social media advertisements. If you plan on staying in Montreal, be aware several flavors (called flavours in Canada) are banned, ecig sales are limited to brick and mortar vape specialty shops, and the fines for disobeying are stiff.

Unlike the U.S., where the FDA is rapidly seeking to regulate ejuice and ecigarette quality and production, there’s currently no quality standards in Canada. This makes the Canadian vape market the open market that it was here until this year. Officials warn citizens to vape at their own risk as all claims are untested.

Also in most of Canada, the legal age to vape is 19, so if you’re in a state that allows it at 18, you’re going to have to wait a bit. If Canada isn’t your cup of tea, here’s what it’s like vaping south of the border down Mexico way.

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Vaping in Mexico

Although vaping took off in the United States, it’s still lagging in Mexico, where traditional nicotine products reign supreme. In early 2015, several vape shops in Mexico City were raided and had over 9,000 ecigarettes and accessories taken.

Unlike the U.S. and Canada, Mexico had existing laws that included ecigarettes long before vaping became a craze. Per Article 16 of the country’s General Tobacco Control Law, it’s illegal to sell, trade, distribute, produce, promote, or display any non-tobacco product that resembles a tobacco product in terms of design, brand, or sound.

While the law was meant to stop the distribution of candy cigarettes, it’s been applied to the vaping industry as well. Still, like our state-run cannabis industry that flies in the face of federal law, localities in Mexico largely determine whether vaping is tolerated.

If you don’t speak Spanish, it will be a bit difficult to navigate the .mx internet and learn these laws. Unlike Canada, which is largely bilingual, Mexico only uses English in tourist spots and major cities. Getting packages will be difficult, and you’re unlikely to find vape shops outside larger cities.

Like Canada, vape juice in Mexico is unregulated in terms of quality (because of its illegal status, tests haven’t been performed yet). The country is catching up quickly, but more rural areas haven’t caught up with the vape craze. You may get strange looks when walking around vaping, so be conscious of what you’re doing.

Now that you know what it’ll be like when you get there, here are some tips to get you there safely.


Traveling with Vape Equipment

If you walk or take a bus, you won’t have much of an issue getting your vape equipment across the border, but if you’re planning to fly, there are a few TSA rules you need to be aware of. Small electronic devices with a lot of wires, buttons, and circuits are a burden for security to process, especially with the wide variety of manufacturers available. 

You can fly with vape equipment, but you’ll need to keep it in your carry on, not checked luggage. Also be prepared to disassemble it before running it through their security scanners. The TSA keeps an eye out for lithium batteries and we all better pray an ecig doesn’t burst into flames like Samsung’s Note 7, or they’ll ban all of them.

Make sure you don’t have ejuice bottles larger than 100ml on you, or you’ll be asked to discard it, even if it’s sealed. You should already know this if you’ve ever been on a plane since 2001, but security isn’t playing games (except the security theater pointed out by Adam Conover in Adam Ruins the TSA).

While you’re on the plane, you can’t vape, which is also true of trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation across North America. You’ll find when you get where you’re going that the same rules apply. Mind your manners and don’t be a dick to others in public, or karma will eventually come back to bite you.

When you get tired of being in a foreign country and decide to come home, we’ll gladly welcome you back. At the end of the day, we’re all dealing with the human condition. Nobody looks down on you for being passionate about politics. The media got everyone hyped up and we watched a historic election where a woman faced off against the most unqualified Presidential candidate in history.

And it’s over now, so break out the vape mod, throw on a VR headset, and escape from it all…

Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, consultant, troll doctor, and writer. He’s featured on The Huffington PostMainstreetLifehackMoney Side of Life, Gaiam, HardcoreDroid, and more.

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