INVESTIGATION: The complicated position of the vape in Portugal

INVESTIGATION: The complicated position of the vape in Portugal

If it is often a question of the place occupied by the vape in certain large European countries such as France, Germany or the United Kingdom, we sometimes know less about the position of others such as Portugal. While traveling around Lisbon, the editorial staff of decided to observe and investigate to learn more about the reality on the ground. Presence of vapers, trade, legislation and health, here is our special file on the " complicated position of the vape in Portugal"


Welcome to Lisbon, a magnificent Portuguese capital and a tourist paradise for several years. However, the arrival on the spot intrigues, astonishes, not a single cloud of vapor in the vicinity. Several days pass but still no vaper on the horizon, moreover, being a follower of the famous device seems to attract attention as if a stranger were disturbing the local equation.

A beginning of explanation is revealed to us in a Portuguese kiosk where the observation is clear: the price of cigarettes is affordable (5.00 € approximately the pack) and the vape is almost absent and replaced by another device of heated tobacco signed Philip Morris.

"The vaping situation in Portugal is very unstable"  - Elio Sequeira

Are we in a kind of multiverse or the vape does not yet exist ? Armed with our curiosity, we go in search of the nugget, the Holy Grail, in short, of a simple vape shop.

Élio Sequeira, Manager of Aquasmoke Cascais / Creator of Galaktika Liquids

And it is 30 kilometers west of the capital, in the magnificent town of Cascais that we find our happiness. The shop Aquasmoke indeed reserves a smiling welcome and our questions on the situation of the vape in Portugal are welcome. Elio Sequeira, vape shop manager and e-liquid manufacturer with his brand " Galaxy Liquids gives his perspective on this complicated relationship between vaping and Portugal.

To our main question, he answers bluntly: “ The vaping situation in Portugal is very unstable and still remains fragile. "specifying the current economic outline" In 2017, there were about 150 shops, today there are less than 100.«  .

 “The bottle of a 10ml nicotine booster costs the customer €5.25. »  - Elio Sequeira 

By way of comparison, France has more or less 3000 vape shops on its territory and the United Kingdom about 2000. While we are alone in the shop, Elio Sequeira gives us a clear and disturbing observation: “ The shops are struggling to get by, Portugal remains a country of smokers where cigarettes are not expensive. In addition, the law prohibits any form of advertising and here the TPD is applied to the strictest” .

And indeed, if most of the countries subject to the European directive on tobacco are quite flexible on the vape, this is not the case of Portugal: “ We have a tax of 3.25€ / 10ml on nicotine, clearly the bottle of a 10ml nicotine booster costs 5.25€ to the customer. » .

Worse still, the manager of Aquasmoke reveals to us that the vape is somehow more taxed than tobacco: " The tax on nicotine is higher than that of tobacco, shops earn 44 cts per bottle excluding postage and taxes. By calculating that a pack of cigarettes today costs €5 in the country, it is easy to assess the cause of the difficulties of vaping in Portugal. »

But what happened in Portugal even though risk reduction through vaping is now a proven fact? ?


How a country like Portugal could not participate in the real craze that the vape could arouse from the year 2012 ? To find out more, we obviously dug into the subject with our interlocutor. In reality, it is a real orchestrated political, health and economic failure that has prevented the vape from taking its place in a country or more than 22% of 20-54 year olds are smokers (Statistics – 2019).

“Doctors advise vaping but do not want to comment publicly” - Elio Sequeira

Politically, the transposition of the tobacco directive has done a lot of harm to vaping: “ In Portugal, this is applied strictly and I can tell you that we had a fine of 1700€ because of the photo of a vape device on our site. The reason for the fine was clear, we were advertising tobacco products. »

With spite, the manager of the Aquasmoke store would like to understand the difference in treatment between European countries on the legislation in force: “ I know that in several European countries all the points of the tobacco directive are not mandatory, such as distance selling for example, yet in our country it is prohibited even if there are shops that do it."

“The Iqos device is apparently not affected by the restrictions” - Elio Sequeira

In terms of health, the situation does not seem to be looking good either. Omerta, gangrenous politics? Still, in Portugal very few health specialists dare to defend vaping: “ We have no help on this side, we spoke with some doctors of our customers who had advised them to vape but they do not want to speak publicly » says Elio before adding « It must be said that in 2019, a person in charge of the pulmonology service of Portugal declared on television that the vape was more dangerous than the conventional cigarette"

Yet Elio Sequeira is one of the few true defenders of the vape in Portugal and tries to make the voice of reason heard in the country's health policies: " Despite the steps taken by our association APORVAP and the various requests to participate in debates in order to explain what this risk reduction device really is, it must be understood that to date we have only received refusals. The reason given is that the vape is supposedly a sensitive subject."

If our investigation comes to an end, a question scratches our throats a little. Indeed, during this journey, if we did not see a single vaper in the streets, the heated tobacco device from Philip Morris, Iqos is extremely present. So what happened ? Heated tobacco would have taken the place of the vape in Portugal ?

To Elio Sequeira, there is indeed a problem: Iqos is the fashionable product in Portugal and surprisingly it is present in major events whether concerts or others. I was even able to attend a scene in front of a restaurant where a young woman was advertising for heated tobacco by offering the device. A priori, it should be understood that the Iqos does not seem concerned by the restrictions in force in Portugal  ".

In conclusion, it seems clear that the position of the vape in Portugal if it is not completely compromised remains extremely complicated. We greatly thank Elio Sequeira for his welcome and his participation in this little survey. As a reminder, vaping is a real risk reduction alternative to smoking which deserves at least to have a place in the current health debate..

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About the Author

Editor-in-chief of, the reference site for vaping news. Engaged in the world of vaping since 2014, I work every day to ensure that all vapers and smokers are informed.