Vaping has become a staple of American culture in the past ten years, as well as many other countries, and it seems as if it is here to stay for good. Yet in Central and South America the story can be completely different in some cases. Laws can vary wildly from outright banning to being totally accepted with no laws prohibiting its use at all. Nothing ruins a vacation more than being locked up in jail for vaping an e-cig, and it is of paramount importance to know before you go! Here are the vaping laws for each Central and South American country.
Central American Countries
The Central American countries which are more friendly toward vaping include:
Anywhere that smoking is permitted, vaping is permitted. Costa Rica is a vape-friendly place and the Pura Vida mentality is carried onto the vape space as well.
Vaping in public is legal in a lot of El Salvadoran places. The cool thing about El Salvador is that if anyone gives you trouble then you can just go to a doctor to get a medical card to be able to legally use it as a smoking cessation aid.
Smoking vapes in Honduras is generally the same as in Costa Rica in that it is accepted wherever smoking cigarettes is accepted. The only catch is that there is no vaping permitted indoors.
Personal use of vaping is tolerated in Panama, but selling and distributing e-cigs and e-liquids is totally illegal and can land you in a world of trouble.
Nicaragua, on the other hand, is home to one of the hairiest vaping stories in all of Central America. An American was actually once locked up for possessing e-liquids in Managua. Though some Reddit users have since stated that they have taken their vaping products through customs without any problems, if you’re going to be passing through Nicaragua then you should still be very careful.
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South American Countries
Like Nicaragua, South America generally takes a harder stance toward vaping.
Whether infused with nicotine or not, vaping of any kind is completely illegal in Argentina. A more traditional country known for its excellent wines and yacht builders, Argentina tries to generally distance itself from vaping.
Labelled as “tobacco imitation”, vaping is also completely illegal in Brazil. With notoriously crime-filled favelas, Brazil is perhaps not the best place to get locked up for vaping.
Unlike the others, Columbia held the first ever Central and South American vaping expo in 2017. Unlike neighboring Brazil, Columbia is without a doubt a vape-friendly country and you should have absolutely no problems vaping in Columbia.
Likewise to Columbia, there are no known laws against vaping in Peru. Tobacco and other herbs are a part of Peruvian culture dating back to the time of the Incas, so you should be fine using vape in Peru.
With the recent financial turmoil and state of affairs in Venezuela, it may not be smart to visit there. Federal laws are very grey for vaping, and the buying and selling of vapes is not legal. As a result, it’s probably not best to not vape in Venezuela in the same way that it’s not advisable in Brazil.
Like a dysfunctional family at thanksgiving dinner, both Central and South America are chock full of varying stances and disagreements on their attitude toward vaping. Know before you go, feel it out when you get there and err on the side of caution when in doubt so that you don’t spend time locked up compared to enjoying all that these countries have to offer.
Many nefarious characters would get a kick out of (or even a financial kickback out of) tricking a gringo into doing something that they shouldn’t, so keep that in the back of your mind when faced with the decision in a country whose laws are more ambiguous or illegal toward vaping.