Trying a Vape is fast becoming the preferred method to try for adults who are want to quit smoking. The amount of adult smokers in the UK currently resides at it’s lowest number it’s ever been, and in no coincidence, the amount of adult vapers now sits at the highest it’s ever been, with over 3 million current adult users of E-Cigarettes in the UK.
Unfortunately, there does seem to be somewhat of a problem in regards to youth vaping in the UK currently, with underage users of vaping devices, most notably Elf Bars or other popular Disposable Vape brands being at the highest it’s been in the last few years.
There does remain some confusion though over the question in topic of this article, which is how old do you have to be to vape legally? And that’s what I’m going to explain in this blog, and look at the laws surrounding vaping and the age restrictions here in the UK.
The legal vaping age in the UK is 18. Therefore, you must be 18 years or older to legally purchase E-Cigarettes & E-Liquid in the UK.
Pretty clear and straight forward don’t you agree? This is the law that was set out in 2015 when Vaping started picking up traction on the UK market. The law was imposed near immediately, due to the fact that E-Cigarettes use E-Liquid which contains Nicotine, the same as what is in Cigarettes, and this is what encouraged the Government to introduce a similar age restriction legality that is replicant of the one imposed on the sale of cigarettes.
DID YOU KNOW? The legal age that people in the UK could buy Cigarettes was actually 16 up until 2007, when it was then bumped up to 18 years old
What Does The Age Restriction Apply To?
You might be asking yourself the above question as to what exactly does the age restriction apply to and it’s understandable to be asking the question, as there’s quite a bit of paraphernalia that is associated with vaping, and the simple answer to this is…EVERYTHING.
Due to the fact that anything associated with an E-Cigarette MAY eventually contain Nicotine, this means it’s covered under the same age restrictions. This means E-Liquid, Coils/Atomisers, Tanks, Vaping devices (stand alone devices or kits) and even heated tobacco products are all not to be sold to anyone under the age of 18.
You might find it strange that Coils and Tanks are covered under it, but like I say, it’s because there’s a chance they could be used with something that contains Nicotine which 9/10 times will the E-Liquid. Then this rises up the question of would 0mg Nicotine vape juice fall under this age restriction category?
Same Rules Apply To Nicotine Free Vape Juice
This is one of the grey areas when it comes to the sale of E-Liquid, as people question why this cannot be sold to someone under the age of 18 if it doesn’t contain Nicotine. Well, same rules as above, because of the chance it MAY eventually contain Nicotine it is not allowed to be sold to someone under the age of 18.
Someone under the age of 18 should not have access to be purchasing or obtaining an E-Cigarette in an ideal world, so they shouldn’t need to be wanting to buy nicotine free vape juice, so the fact it’s age restricted too helps put the temptation or desire on hold to underage users trying to buy it.
It’s Against The Law To Attempt To Buy For Someone Underage
Same rules here as what applies to buying anything age restricted on behalf of someone underage, it’s against the law and can land you in some serious hot water if you’re caught.
The age restriction is there for a reason, to discourage young people from using E-Cigarettes or anything that contain Nicotine, and it’s against the law to buy an E-Cigarette on behalf of someone who is not of legal age (18 years old) It’s not worth the risk, as it’s against the law, and even if you don’t successfully purchase, but you’re found to be trying to, chances are you’re going to end up in trouble that could have been easily avoided.
On top of this, you’re also putting shopkeepers licences and premises at risk by doing this, as if it’s traced back to the shop where you bought it from, the poor unknowing shopkeeper/shop owner is likely going to be facing a heft fine and punishment.
The Problem With Youth Vaping Numbers Increasing
There’s always been a certain number of underage users of E-Cigarettes since they came onto the market, but the number of how many are actually using them now has shot up, and that’s down to a couple of things which I’ll explain.
Disposable Vapes, you know the things, bright colourful devices filled with attractive and delicious sounding vape juice like Cotton Candy or Cherry Cola have rocketed in popularity, with adult users, but sadly also with underage users as well.
Recent surveys have shown that Elf Bars which is the most popular brand of Disposable seems to be the preferred device to use amongst underage users, with the amount of users increasing by more than 30 times what it was just 2 years previous which is very alarming.
Within the survey, the question was asked how the 11-17 year olds are obtaining these devices considering their age restricted, and the most common answer was “They’re bought for me” closely followed by “I buy them from shops. Mostly convenience shops.” and this is where the problem is!
The Blatant Disregard Of The Law
People not having any regard for the law is causing these youth vaping numbers to increase to unprecedented heights. People willingly purchasing age restricted products for underage users doesn’t help but also shops freely selling these Disposable Vapes to youths without carrying out age verification helps even less!
Trading Standards Agencies have their work cut out for them when it comes to clamping down on the shops who are breaking the law, if they’re not selling to underage users then they’re selling counterfeit disposable devices by the hundreds every single week, which do not abide by the TPD regulations set out in 2016.
This is a huge problem, as it’s only causing more black clouds over the Vaping Industry and creating negative attention to an industry that the large part is mostly dedicated to helping adult smokers quit and realise the benefits of Vaping. Hopefully with the announcement of a cash injection from the Government to help TSA clamp down on these cowboys flouting the rules with no regards will help these black clouds lurking over our industry disperse.