10 surprising and strange items that are banned abroad
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Written by Faisal Islam

7th August 2023

Travellers and prospective expats have been urged to double-check their luggage before jetting abroad in case they’ve packed an item that is banned in their destination country.

Your Overseas Home has identified 10 weird and wonderful items that are actually outlawed in countries around the world – from baby walkers and plastic shopping bags to chewing gum and vapes.

10 weird and wonderful banned items

In Singapore, it has been against the law to import and sell chewing gum since 1992, when the legislation was passed in an attempt to help improve the cleanliness of the island.

And vape fans will have to leave their e-cigarettes in the UK, as Thailand has had a ban on the import, export, sale and possession of vaping products since November 2014.

Christopher Nye, our senior content editor said: “Before travelling or moving to a new country, it’s always a good idea to get to grips with their culture and customs – and that includes any weird and wonderful laws that are enforced.

“Staying on the right side of these laws is imperative not only to keep the peace, but failure to do so could land you a hefty fine, deportation, or even imprisonment in some cases!”

1. Baby walkers – Canada

Baby walkers, aka, baby seats on wheels, have been banned in Canada since 2004. Why? It seems that babies are great at using them, just not always so good at steering them in a safe direction.

2. Chewing gum – Singapore

It’s not illegal to chew gum in Singapore, but it is against the law to import and sell it and has been since 1992. Exceptions exist for dental and nicotine gum, but you can only purchase these from a doctor or registered pharmacist.

3. Haggis – USA

It’s a bit of a bummer for Burns fans, but in 1971 it became illegal to import authentic haggis into the US due to a ban on food containing sheep lung, which constitutes 10-15% of the traditional Scottish recipe. As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 1971 ruling, “Livestock lungs shall not be saved for use as human food.”

4. Jasmine flower – China

In May 2011, Beijing police banned the sale of jasmine flowers at various markets, which caused wholesale prices to collapse. Both the flower and plant cannot be sold, purchased, worn, or talked about in China since anonymous calls for a Chinese “jasmine revolution” began circulating on the internet, referring to the popular uprising in Tunisia.

5. Kinder Surprise eggs – USA

Kinder Surprise eggs are banned in the US, and it’s illegal to import them too. This is because of a law that dictates that any food with a ‘non-nutritive object embedded’ is not allowed – including toys inside confectionery items. Though you can’t get them in the States, you can still find them in neighbouring countries Canada and Mexico.

6. Sudafed – Japan

Due to Japan’s strict anti-stimulant drug laws, any drugs containing pseudoephedrine – like Sudafed and Vicks inhalers – are banned. Medicines containing codeine are also banned in Japan, and foreign nationals have even been detained and deported for offences.

8. Flip flops – Capri (Italy)

You can wear flip-flops around the majority of Italy, but you’re not allowed to take them to the island of Capri. Here, it’s illegal to wear ‘excessively noisy’ footwear – including flip flops – as locals value their ‘peace and quiet’.

9. Yellow clothing – Malaysia

In 2016, the Malaysian government banned yellow clothing after thousands of protestors wearing yellow T-shirts flooded the streets of Kuala Lumpur and demanded the resignation of the prime minister. Since then, anyone wearing yellow can be arrested under the assumption that they’re also protesting.

10. Camouflage print – the Caribbean

Some countries such as Barbados, Aruba and other Caribbean nations have laws prohibiting camouflage clothing from being worn by non-military personnel, including tourists. Having it in your luggage or as the pattern on bags or backpacks also falls within the ban’s limits.

11. Vapes and electronic cigarettes – Thailand

While electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are used around the world as a way of helping people quit smoking, Thailand has had a ban on the import, export, sale and possession of vaping products since November 2014.

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