From 15 January 2023, Mexico passed a law making it an offence to smoke in all public places, including beaches, pavements and parks. The only instance in which smoking does not contravene the new law is private homes or private outdoor spaces. The penalty for violation is a fine of up to £150. It is also illegal to sell or buy electronic cigarettes (vapes).
However, while certainly one of the strictest nations in the world for anti-smoking laws, Mexico is not alone in tightening rules on smoking and vaping. Singapore banned smoking in public parks, beaches and along certain waterways in July 2022.
Sweden prohibited smoking in outdoor seating in bars and restaurants, as well as public spaces such as playgrounds, bus stops and train stations, in 2019. Hawaii banned smoking in its state parks in 2015, with cigarette butts the most littered items on Earth – it is thought about 4.5 trillion are discarded each year.
Last summer, smoking was banned on the beaches of Barcelona, with a €30 for those who repeatedly violate the ban. It is, however, still permitted in outdoor beach bars.
A similar ban came into effect on 24 of Thailand’s most popular beaches in 2018, with fines of up to 100,000 baht (£2,500) and/or a year in prison. According to the Foreign Office, the Thai Department of Disease Control linked the smoking of cigarettes to the impact of coronavirus. Smoking in public could result in a fine of up to 5,000 baht (£125).
Last December, smoking was banned at a ski resort: Les Gets in France became the first resort in Europe to prohibit smoking on the slopes and communal areas.
According to the Smoke Free Partnership, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain are EU countries that are strongly enforcing Article 8 of the WHO FCTC, preventing exposure to tobacco smoke in workplaces, public transport, indoor public spaces and other public places as appropriate.
Vape rules abroad
However, rules are more variable about e-cigarettes. In Europe, there are restrictions on sales, advertising and use of vapes in countries such as Finland, Sweden, Norway, Greece and Ireland.
Elsewhere, e-cigarettes are banned completely, such as Mexico, India, Vatican City, Nicaragua, Cambodia and some states of Malaysia. In some cases, users face strict fines and even arrest.
Qatar: The Foreign Office warns: “Qatar law also prohibits the importation, sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes, liquids and other similar products (eg electronic shisha pipes). The law applies regardless of quantity and intended use. Customs officials may seize and confiscate any such items found entering the country by any means, including in passengers’ luggage or sent by post.
Thailand: According to the Foreign Office, vapes “may be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted. Their sale or supply is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty.”
Singapore: e-cigarettes are likely to be confiscated, and you could be fined or sent to prison.