Vaping & E-Cigarette Laws in the UK
By Neil Goddard
Some of the information in the following blog is based on external, third party sources and is for educational/informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to be representative of the products sold on this website.
It’s been ten years since e-cigarettes hit the shelves in the UK. Since vaping was introduced as a safer and healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes¹, it has taken the UK by storm. The number of people vaping in the UK has reached 3.6 million – about half the number of conventional cigarette smokers.² The rise in popularity of e-cigarettes has led the government to establish a range of new vaping laws.
Vaping age restrictions
You must be 18 or over to buy e-cigarettes or e-liquids in the UK. It is also illegal for vape adverts to include models who appear to be under the age of 25. These measures are in place to prevent children from taking up vaping.
Vaping product restrictions
There are several restrictions on vaping products in the UK, which have been put in place to protect consumers. Under EU regulations vape juices containing diacetyl were banned in 2016. The maximum strength of nicotine permitted in vape juices is capped at 20mg/ml. The size of e-liquid containers is capped at 10ml, and cartridges and clearomisers can hold a maximum 2ml. E-cigarette manufacturers must submit details of their products for government approval six months before selling them to the public.
Where can I vape?
Electronic cigarettes are not subject to the same laws and restrictions as conventional cigarettes. The 2007 ban on smoking in in enclosed public places and within the workplace doesn’t apply to vaping, but this doesn’t mean that you can vape anywhere you like.
Vaping in public places
There isn’t currently a legal ban on vaping in public places. E-cigarette vapour isn’t harmful to bystanders in the same way as conventional cigarette smoke.³ However, it is advisable to be considerate when vaping around other people. Read our guide to vaping in public places to find out more.
Again, there aren’t specific UK laws on vaping indoors. Each situation is unique and should be approached with consideration of the space and others around you.
Vaping at work
Vaping in the workplace depends on the type of job you have. Whether you work in an office, outdoors or in a customer-facing role such as a restaurant or a shop, the rules around vaping at work may vary. Read our guide to vaping in the workplace for further details.
Vaping on public transport
There are no specific UK regulations in place that restrict vaping on public transport, but most train and bus companies have their own policies prohibiting vaping while on board and at stations. In 2015 almost all private train companies introduced new vape laws restricting vaping on board. Read our guide to vaping on trains and buses. When it comes to vaping on planes, the restrictions are more rigorous. Find out more about vaping on planes and read our guide to taking e-cigarettes on flights.
Vaping in pubs
As with other indoor spaces, vaping in pubs isn’t restricted by law. Many pubs treat vaping as they would smoking and ask patrons to do so outside in designated smoking areas. However, some pubs do allow vaping indoors. Find out more about vaping in pubs with our guide.
Vaping while driving
Vaping on the road isn’t illegal. However, there is a risk that exhaled vapour could obstruct the driver’s view, which amounts to driving without due care and attention. Drivers could get up to nine points on their license and a £2,500 fine if found not to be in full control of their vehicle.4
Heated tobacco restrictions
Heated tobacco products like IQOS are relatively new in the UK. Because the tobacco is heated but not burned as it is in conventional tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars, heated tobacco does not fall under the smoking ban. Instead, users should follow the same guidance as vaping in public places and always ask beforehand.