Portugal has become a go-to spot for wanderers and vacationers in Europe with thrilling surfer waves, beyond delicious pasteis de nata, and beautiful beaches, where the weather is playing just the right tunes, Portugal won’t disappoint you…
But, as vapers, we know well that restrictions and regulations vary from country to country and we must be prepared for any case scenario. Before you hit the road, make sure to read this guide, based on personal experience, that will provide information that might be useful during your trip.
Vaping is banned where smoking is banned
In Portugal, vaping is treated the same way as smoking and is regulated in accordance with the EU Tobacco Products Directive. Vaping is banned in all public enclosed spaces, bars, restaurants, and clubs and you can get fined up to 750 Euros for disobeying the law. Vaping is also illegal in places where children gather, including outdoor spaces, such as playgrounds.
You can’t find disposable vapes in every vape shop
It’s no surprise that vaping wouldn’t be allowed inside bars or restaurants, but what surprised us during our time in Portugal was that we couldn’t find disposable vapes. To be more specific, we’re talking about disposable vapes with nicotine. After chatting with a vape shop owner, we learned that getting authorization to sell nicotine disposable vapes is a long, complicated, and costly process and not worth it for many vape shops. Although, that doesn’t mean disposable vapes are nonexistent, you just have to search for them better than we did. We know that choosing a new vaping device when you’re trying to quit smoking could be a little intimidating. Disposable vapes are convenient when you’re trying to dip your toes into vaping and unavailability of them could stop many people from trying out this great harm reduction tool.
Vape shops are disappearing from the radar
When it was time for the trip to refill our vaping supplies, we were surprised to discover that we had to make quite a trip to reach the nearest vape shop. In 2017, there were around 160 registered vape shops in the country, which decreased to 90 by the end of 2022, a whopping 43% reduction! Your first guess would be that sales have moved online, right? This leads us to our next point.
You can’t buy nicotine products online
Online sales and purchases of products containing nicotine products are banned. All disposable vapes and liquids you find online are nicotine free. A lot of people in Portugal order their liquids online from Spain. But many vapers aren’t aware that cross-border sales are illegal in Portugal. While many manage to get away with it, it’s not always the case, and they end up getting fined.
Liquids are one of the most highly taxed in Europe
Here come the taxes! Tax on nicotine liquids dropped from 0.60 to 0.31 Euros per ml in 2017 but increased again to 0.336 at the beginning of 2023. This means tax adds 3.4 Euros to the price of a 10 ml vape liquid bottle.
If this sounds too pricey for you, make sure to bring supplies from your home country (you probably already know this but better to pack your liquids into checked-in luggage).
Back in 2001, Portugal dropped a bombshell on the world with their groundbreaking drug harm reduction approach. Instead of criminalizing drug users, they focused on health and support. Portugal’s example has inspired nations worldwide to rethink their drug policies and embrace a more compassionate, effective, and forward-thinking approach. It’s unfortunate to see that smokers are not treated the same way and vaping is not supported as a healthier alternative for them.
In Portugal, a pack of cigarettes costs around 5 Euros, which is one of the cheapest in Western Europe. If vaping were more affordable than cigarettes, it would give smokers more financial incentive to quit. Besides, advertising is illegal and there is no encouragement from health professionals to switch to vaping. I’m sure Portugal can do better than this by taking a page from Sweden’s book and embracing tobacco harm reduction practices.
So there you have it, vapers. I hope you will have a blast in Portugal and find this information useful.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, check out our other Vaper’s Guides:
This blog post is constantly evolving since vaping laws are changing all the time everywhere in the world. I’d love to hear from you if you have more info or recommendations!