Recent times have seen two major changes for smokers; the introduction of e-cigarettes and vapes, and the relaxation of laws surrounding marijuana.
The former has been welcomed in many quarters as a healthier way to smoke, and as a tool to give up cigarettes. Vapes don’t contain tobacco or produce tar, and they also generally smell far more pleasant and so are less anti-social.
The decriminalization of weed has helped many people obtain medical marijuana much more freely than before and removed the risk of prosecution. Many states in the US and countries around the world have allowed the use and possession of cannabis for recreational purposes too.
While both these changes have been generally welcomed with open arms, it is still important to know the laws in your area, and where you are allowed to use vapes or smoke cannabis.
How have these new introductions affected people?
Vaping has helped many people switch from traditional cigarettes to a tar-free alternative. About 15 years ago, around 21% of adults smoked. By 2019, that figure had dropped to 14%. It could be said that this is partly due to the introduction of vapes and electronic alternatives.
Vapes do not have the same stigma as tobacco cigarettes, and they don’t leave behind offensive odors. Therefore, people feel more comfortable using them around friends. Their use is not usually restricted by the smoking ban either, so they can often be used in bars and restaurants.
The laws on cannabis have affected people differently from the introduction of vapes. Decriminalization means that there is no longer the worry of arrest and potential jail time. Marijuana can be bought from dispensaries instead of from the street, and consumers know what they are getting when they make a purchase.
If vapes and cannabis are so legal and good, surely you can smoke them anywhere?
You can stay home and smoke weed while kicking back with Netflix, playing on your PS4, or checking out the weekend’s football markets on LVBET. There would be no risk at all, but this doesn’t mean you can smoke weed everywhere.
Vapes aren’t a problem though, are they? Well, actually, many places have brought in bans against vaping. Some of these restrictions refer to certain areas, and others have bans that are far more reaching.
Where should you be wary about using a vape?
In the US, there are different state laws regarding the use of vapes in public. Some states, such as California have a blanket ban on all work areas and many public spaces. Often the same rules apply to cigarettes as vapes. Ie, it is ok to use a vape anywhere that you can smoke tobacco.
Local laws on vapes differ across the world. If you wanted to enjoy roulette, slots, and blackjack in a Las Vegas casino, while vaping, there should be no problem. However, try that in the UK, and you will be risking a fine.
Other countries in the world have much stricter controls over vapes.
If you are planning a holiday with your vape, then beware
Most people agree that while vapes haven’t been around long enough to properly test for health problems, they are almost certainly better than smoking tobacco.
However, not all governments agree.
A visit to Southeast Asia with your vape could land you in hot water. It is not legal yet to sell vape juice that contains nicotine in Malaysia, and nearby countries have gone even further.
Laos, Cambodia, potentially Vietnam, and Thailand, have all banned vaping. In fact, you could be jailed for up to 10 years in The Land of Smiles for vaping. It’s not all doom and gloom though, it is perfectly legal to vape in Myanmar, you’ll just have to wait for the political situation to calm somewhat.
Speaking of Southeast Asia, isn’t weed legal in some places there?
There is a lot of bad advice on the internet, and one area that keeps popping up is that it is legal to smoke weed in places that it isn’t.
Thrillist published an article at the tail end of 2011 giving out advice on where in the world people could safely smoke weed.
One of the places listed was Laos, with the advice that ‘you will probably be ok buying weed anywhere, and the laws are never enforced’.
The truth is that in Laos, local people can grow a certain amount of cannabis plants for their own consumption. Traditionally this means using it as a medicinal herb in soup. While there are some restaurants selling joints, weed shakes & pizzas, and opium tea, the law is very much enforced.
Being caught with one joint in the hedonistic capital of Laos, Vang Vieng, will set you back $500. A fine that is applied to each person sharing that joint.
Which countries do allow public smoking of weed?
Amsterdam has long been a place that has relaxed views on cannabis. You can go to a coffee shop and legally buy weed, smoke it there in front of others, and happily go on your way.
However, laws surrounding cannabis are changing all the time. Amsterdam has been saying that tourists may not be allowed into the coffee shops shortly.
Because of the constant changes, the only safe advice to give is to check the local laws anywhere you visit. By and large, most countries and regions do not allow the public consumption or use of cannabis in public. If in doubt, don’t get it out.
There appears to be a crackdown occurring on vaping around the world. In some places, it is just nice to be considerate of others, but in others, vaping is completely prohibited. Learn about the dos and don’ts of ripping in public before you get your vape out.
When it comes to weed, things are very different. You may get asked not to vape by someone nearby, but with weed, you could still find yourself in legal trouble if you smoke outside.
While both cannabis and vapes are far less antisocial than tobacco and drunkenness, there are still laws and rules to be considered. The safest advice is to keep up to date with local laws wherever you go.