What is the Legal Age to Vape in the UK?
By Elina Panayotova
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Vaping is a well-known smoking alternative in the UK. Below, we answer all the key questions you may have about vaping laws and the age restrictions around buying vapes.
Is There a Legal Age to Buy Vapes?
Yes, there is. The legal age to buy vapes in the UK is 18 years old. The law which made it illegal to sell e-cigarettes or vape juice to anyone under 18 came into force on 1 October 2015.
This law is also upheld online, where customers must confirm they are 18 or over before entering any site which sells vape products, either via a declaration of minimum age or a prompt to enter date of birth. When ordering products online, somre retailers use third-party age verification before permitting the user to order. In any case, all vape retailers must require customers to show identification to verify their proof of age upon delivery.
The minimum age for buying any nicotine or tobacco-containing product is 18. This includes related products such as vape devices, coils, atomizers, vape juice, or heated tobacco products. It is also illegal for adults to buy – or be found attempting to buy – tobacco or vaping products for anyone under the age of 18.
Is There A Legal Age To Buy Vape Juice That Is Nicotine-Free?
Vape juice can only be purchased by customers over the age of 18, regardless of the nicotine level it contains. Even nicotine-free vape juice is classed as a vape accessory, so it is illegal for shops to sell them to minors.
Is The Vaping Legal Age the Same as Smoking?
Prior to 2007, the legal age to purchase tobacco products, was 16. This was raised to 18 in October 2007. As of 2015, after the introduction of the minimum age of sale for electronic cigarettes and e-liquids, the legal smoking age and the legal vaping age have been the same.
Nicotine and tobacco products of any form should never be used by minors, and all products of this nature should be safely kept out of reach of children.
How Do These Rules Differ to Other Countries?
Different countries have different rules around the ages at which people can legally purchase vaping products.
In America, federal laws enacted in 2019 prohibit the sale of all tobacco products and e-cigarettes to individuals under 21, although it was previously 18. While in Australia, the possession, supply or sale of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes is completely illegal, except in specific circumstances. The only way to access nicotine e-cigarettes is through a prescription. Where these products are allowed to be purchased, the minimum age requirement for purchase is 18.
In Ireland, the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 is banned.
Likewise, in Vietnam, all e-cigarettes are subject to a minimum age of sale of 18.
Regardless of the laws in other countries, the UK strictly prohibits the sale of vapour products to anyone under the age of 18. Breaking this law by supplying under 18s with smoking, vaping, or heated tobacco products can result in fines and imprisonment.