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