How Old Do You Have To Be?
Vaping has grown rapidly in popularity over the last decade. When e-cigarettes were first introduced many were sceptical, but today they are a common sight. More and more people use vaping to help them quit smoking while they enjoy the great flavours, fun tricks and supportive culture.
Vaping has been proven to almost double the chances of a smoker quitting cigarettes for good. And it might not be surprising that this new invention has become most popular with young adults who are more likely to turn to vaping than older smokers. This has led to some concern that vaping is targeting children and that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking.
One question that frequently gets asked is, what’s the legal age for vaping? Some people seem to believe that there is no legal limit, but this isn’t the case. While vaping is very popular and has been proven to help smokers quit cigarettes for good, vaping is also regulated and controlled to keep it out of the hands of underage users.
Legal Vape Age
Although not all e-liquids contain nicotine, many do and nicotine is a highly addictive substance that children shouldn’t be exposed to. Keeping nicotine away from underage users is a big part of why there is a legal age limit for the sale of vaping products.
Like many countries around the world, the United Kingdom’s vaping laws are influenced by the same regulations that deal with tobacco cigarettes. This means restrictions on vaping advertising and promotions as well as the same age restrictions and other measures.
In reality, vaping and smoking are very different and there are many who would like vaping rules to be separated from tobacco and instead reflect recent research into the effects of vaping. This could happen in the near future if the United Kingdom no longer has to follow the Tobacco Products Directive, but at the moment United Kingdom vaping law has to be in line with the TPD.
In the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe the legal vaping age is the same as the legal age to smoke, 18 years. This means that it is illegal to sell vaping equipment and e-liquids to anyone under 18 in the United Kingdom.
Outside of Europe the vaping age can vary a lot. Vaping is completely illegal in places like Thailand or the United Arab Emirates regardless of age and in places like the United States the legal vaping age can vary from state to state from 18 to as high as 21 in states like California. So, it is always worth checking the local laws if you plan on vaping and traveling.
Misconceptions about vaping and age
The health effects of vaping were not well understood until recently and the idea of children being exposed to something unhealthy or addictive is an understandable concern. Unfortunately this has led to a number of misconceptions and rumours about vaping that are not true but remain popular despite the evidence against them.
Vaping is not a gateway to Smoking
One of the most common misconceptions about vaping is the idea that vaping is a gateway to smoking that encourages young people or children to take up cigarettes.
Research already shows us that vaping isn’t a gateway to smoking. The Royal College of Physicians has released a report which confirms that vaping does not encourage new people to take up cigarettes and organisations like Public Health England have also supported these findings.
The idea that vaping leads to children taking up smoking is completely untrue. In reality smoking rates among young people in the United Kingdom have been declining since vaping was first introduced. Statistically the vast majority of vapers were smokers before they took up vaping and many have used vaping to help them quit cigarettes for good.
Vaping does not target children
Another untrue myth about vaping is that vaping targets children. The vaping industry does everything it can to discourage children from vaping and it is illegal to target any vape related advertisement at children.
Surveys show that young adults who vape regularly are the same young adults who already smoked, which means smokers are more likely to become vapers, not the other way around. Younger smokers might be more likely to try vaping than older smokers, but that doesn’t mean that vaping is aimed at children, just that younger people are more likely to try new ideas in general.
The United Kingdom is the third largest market for vaping products in the world and is generally considered progressive when it comes to accepting the facts about vaping. There are many campaigning for the United Kingdom vaping laws to be relaxed to make vaping more accessible as a way to help smokers quit.
The government has already said that they will review vaping laws after the United Kingdom is no longer following the EU Tobacco Products Directive. The hope is that the renewed laws will better reflect the facts about vaping as well as the benefits instead of treating e-cigarettes the same as tobacco. Only time will tell if changes to the law will include lowering the legal vaping age.
The legal vaping age in the United Kingdom is 18. This means it is illegal to sell vaping products like atomisers or e-liquids to anyone under this age.
Some people believe that vaping targets children or that it encourages young people to take up smoking, but these rumours are untrue. It is illegal to sell vaping products to children or target vape advertising at children. And statistics show that although younger smokers are more likely to turn to vaping to help them quit than older smokers, vaping does not encourage people to take up smoking.
United Kingdom vaping law is influenced by the European Tobacco Products Directive which many feel unfairly treats e-cigarettes the same as tobacco despite the evidence showing how different they are. There are hopes that vaping laws will change to better reflect the evidence about vaping.