What is the Legal Age to Vape?
Since 2007, people under the age of 18 have been banned from purchasing cigarettes in the UK. Vaping, on the other hand, has experienced many legislation changes in recent years, leading to the fresher preventative measures implemented to restrict the sale of vape devices and liquids.
Legislation is ever-evolving surrounding the buying and selling of vapes and nicotine-containing products, so it is vital that you are aware of the latest laws - as a consumer, to know your rights, and as a retailer, to know the responsibilities you hold.
Vaping prohibitions introduced in 2015
Vaping is one of the fastest-growing habits and industries in the UK. Such a fast-growing community and public interest require equally swift government legislation, to ensure the protection of its citizens.
While vaping has been a popular phenomenon since circa 2009, the first laws surrounding its usage and purchasing only emerged in the 2010s, and the regulations outlining the legal ages to vape were only approved in 2015. The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing Regulations 2015), which governed the laws surrounding cigarettes, was extended to cover all nicotine products.
Regulation 2 of the 2015 legislation made it an offence to purchase a vape as a proxy to a minor, while Regulation 3 prevents the sale of nicotine-inhaling products to those under 18 years of age.
What are vaping laws based on?
At the forefront of legislation is the advice and evidence provided by healthcare professionals. Unlike cigarettes, vaping has not been able to be studied over extended periods of time to measure its long-term health impacts.
Lawmakers use medical knowledge of the emerging vape devices, liquids, and chemicals to make supported decisions about the law. As such, the primary aim of newer vaping legislation is to protect the health of its users, and reduce the negative impact felt by minors, such as nicotine addiction.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2020, based on the 2019 Annual Population Survey, report that 5.7% of over 16 year olds - roughly three million people - currently use a vape in England, compared to 3.7% in 2014. Newer statistics have shown that this rate has not significantly increased in recent years, while the rate for adults has - highlighting the effectiveness of such legislation.
Can under 18s buy vapes online?
No. The prohibition of selling to people under the age of 18 applies online as well as in stores. The offence of selling to a minor carries a fine of £2,500.
Are you a Parent? - Find out more
One of the biggest concerns around vaping currently is the growing concern of youth access. This has been particularly ramped up in the face of the disposable vaping trend, which is redefining the vaping industry at present. In fact, the number of young people now vaping these colourful devices is so significant, the phenomenon has carved out it’s own dedicated consumer demographic. These people have never vaped or smoked but are now choosing to try disposables, and not always legally.
If you are a parent and you are concerned about your children or teens getting their hands on these devices, the best weapon is education. In order to spot the dangers, and warn your children of them effectively, please check out our blog about Disposable Vapes, so you can ensure you have the knowledge to look out for dodgy products, and keep them out of your families hands.