How Old Do You Have to Be to Vape in the UK & Worldwide?

The main reason people switch to vaping is because they see it as a healthier alternative and a means to quit smoking once and for all. Smoking leads to numerous health problems that degrade your lifestyle and worsen your physical condition. Thus, vaping has become a choice of many who enjoy nicotine but do not want to consume any other harmful substances that come with a cigarette.

With the growing popularity of vaping in the UK and worldwide in recent years, some countries started regulating the market to make it safe for everyone, while others put restrictions on purchasing products containing nicotine or made vape products illegal altogether.

Let’s look at laws that restrict buying e-liquids with nicotine, what regulations are in action, and the legal age to start vaping and buy e-cigarettes in the UK and abroad.

Legal Age to Vape and Purchase Vaping Products in the UK

The UK vaping laws regulate the retail of e-liquids, nic salts, vape pens/pods, and electronic cigarettes, indicating who can legally purchase and use the products.

The regulations also dictate the punishment for those breaking the law. Vaping equipment is being treated the same as tobacco products, making them inaccessible for minors.

The UK law states that the legal vaping age is 18 years old and older. This means the minors are prohibited from buying vaping equipment in a brick-and-mortar and online store. If parents are caught buying e-cigarettes or e-liquids for their minor children, they will face prosecution by the local authority. This is considered a criminal offence when an adult deliberately buys vape products for a minor.

When selling vaping equipment, Vapekit staff may request your ID before collecting an online order; if the requirement is not fulfilled, your order will be confiscated and money refunded.

man buying vape equipment

The Ambiguity of E-Cigarettes Vaping Law in the UK

Since vaping nicotine products is fairly new, the laws aren’t perfect but constantly improving. There is a grey area in the regulations that does not include minors owning an e-cig. As of now, there are no restrictions on vaping within your premises or outdoors for people under the age of 18. It is also unclear whether a minor can purchase a nicotine-free e-liquid.

If you wish to follow the latest news and updates, you should do so on the official web pages of your local authority, as the rules are constantly altered.

Underage Vaping in the UK

The problem of underage vaping is present in the UK; however, only to a small extend. The 2020 report prepared by Public Health England states that 5% of 11-18 years old children vape, which is a relatively small percentage compared to the USA.

To prevent underage vaping in the UK, the retailers may face hefty fines when caught selling vapes to teenagers without asking for ID. The penalty can reach up to £2500.

The local authority or police may check if your store sells vape kits or vape liquid to young people by sending an undercover minor to buy vaping products. That is why it is crucial to ask for ID if you see a person who looks younger than 20-25. A store can also refuse to sell e-liquids and e-cigs if the buyer purchases them for a minor.

Remember to abide by the law when dealing with customers because young people will always find a way to deceive you. If the store makes a mistake, it will be prosecuted, not the underaged buyer.

That is why it is best for teenagers to wait till the age of 18 and then buy vaping equipment with or without nicotine. As a buyer, you will not risk the future of retailers and the market, and enjoy the abundance of flavours once you are allowed.

The main cause of underage vaping in England is curiosity or the feeling of missing out. Parents should engage children in family-oriented activities, trips and spend time together in order to prevent their children from smoking or vaping.

Another crucial thing that needs to be done is to educate young individuals and make teenagers aware of why nicotine is a highly addictive substance and why they are not allowed to smoke cigarettes or vape e-cigarettes.

Legal Age to Vape and Purchase Vaping Products in Other Countries

Vaping age restrictions vary from country to country. Like in the UK, most countries that belong to European Union have an age restriction of 18 years old with some exceptions.

The only country where minors can purchase e-liquids at 16 years old is Belgium. However, it is legal to buy and sell only nicotine-free e-liquids to young individuals.

The countries where vaping products are sold to 18 years olds are:

  • Members of European Union and Schengen Area (exceptions are Belgium (min. 16 y.o.) and Norway (doctor’s referral required))
  • China
  • Canada
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • Fiji
  • Georgia
  • Malaysia
  • Moldova
  • Vietnam
  • Algeria

One country allows the purchase of vaping liquids and cigs at the age of 19:

  • South Korea

From the age of 21, individuals can purchase in the following countries:

  • Honduras
  • Palau

Regarding the rest of the countries, the purchase of e-liquid and e-cigarettes are either prohibited or not yet regulated.

Age Limit of Vaping in the United States of America

The United States of America struggle with underaged vaping, where nicotine-based liquids were vaped in:

  • 8th grade – 6%
  • 10th grade – 16%
  • 12th grade – 21%

And nicotine-free liquids were used in:

  • 8th grade – 8%
  • 10th grade – 13%
  • 12th grade – 14%

Due to the rapid increase, the age limit has changed from 18/19 to 21 years old. In order to reduce the access to vape, Tobacco 21 legislation was signed by the President. The new rule has been in action since December 2019, making it illegal for retailers to market cigarettes, e-liquid, e-cigarettes, and cigars to individuals under the age of 21.

Conclusion

The rules regarding vape products should be clear and consistent, making them available to adults and inaccessible to adolescents and children. The age limit decides when a person is mature enough to make life decisions, including voting and switching from cigarettes to vaping.

As a parent, if you worry whether your child vapes, you should have an open conversation, free of judgement and punishment. This way, you will establish trust with your child and be able to warn about potential health risks.

You can also stay informed and follow the latest reports regarding vaping and laws. If you are a vaper, make sure to keep e-liquids and vaping equipment far from the child’s reach, and it is strongly recommended not to vape in front of a minor.

For your own safety, make sure to buy TPD-compliant vaping products, and this means they are tested and safe to be used. Vapekit follows the latest rules, stocks high-quality vaping equipment, and sells only TPD-compliant vaping e-liquids, nic salts, and e-cigarettes.

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