Authorities in Turkey recently raided a “vape party” in Istanbul, arresting three organizers of the event and handing out roughly 800 fines to vapers in attendance.
The event, held on the terrace of a restaurant in the city’s Beyoğlu district, was advertised on Facebook as an “unlimited vape party” free to anybody that wanted to come. Unfortunately for vapers in the country, Turkey lumps electronic cigarettes in with all other tobacco products, despite the fact the devices only contain nicotine, reports Vaping 360.
The importation and advertisement of vapor products is illegal in the country, but the devices are not specifically banned. The country has a strict ban on indoor smoking however, which includes vaping, resulting in the Sept. 17 raid.
The three organizers of the event were arrested and 800 attendants were given administrative fines for smoking indoors. It is unclear how many law enforcement officials were involved in the operation or how they managed to ticket all 800 guests of the party.
While punishing vapers is seemingly a bizarre use of law enforcement resources, the practice can carry serious legal penalties in some countries.
Lawmakers in Thailand officially banned the importation of vaping devices in November 2014. The measure was subsequently reformed to include a ban on selling vapes and exporting the devices. Bringing the device into the country or using it can carry a 10-year prison penalty, while selling or supplying the devices is punishable by five years behind bars.
Travel agencies and government bodies have recently issued warnings to tourists venturing to Thailand that using an e-cigarette in the country could land them in jail for a decade.
“You can’t bring vaporizers or refills into Thailand,” the U.K. government warns tourists. “Several British Nationals have been arrested for possession of vaporizers and e-cigarettes.”
Turkish officials said the fines handed out to vapers at the party do not carry any criminal charges.
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