Do you want to try out vaping but don’t know whether you meet the age requirements to do so? Or is your teenager considering it but you don’t know if they’re of age? Well, we understand how frustrating this can be.
We too have asked ourselves, “How old do you have to be to vape?’” And we want to make things easier for you.
How is vaping regulated?
When people first started vaping, it was difficult for legislators to regulate it. Even now, many countries still struggle with it. While many regulate it the same way they do tobacco products others treat it as a standalone product.
Because of this, you will find that sometimes vaping will have the same age limit as smoking tobacco in a country while other times it won’t. In some countries vaping is even banned or left unregulated altogether.
What is the legal age to vape in North America?
Vaping was originally unregulated in the United States because vaping products were considered to be tobacco-free. But in the years leading to 2016, states in the US started setting a minimum age for vaping.
By the time the FDA set in place the Deeming Regulations to regulate vaping in 2016, the minimum age for it had been placed in most states. The FDA set the legal vaping age at 18 years old.
It also put in place regulations to govern which vaping products are safe, what taxes are imposed on them, and where you can/can’t vape. Ultimately, the legal age limit for vaping for each state was set as:
- At least 21 years old
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- At least 19 years old
- At least 18 years old
- New Hampshire
- New York
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
However, in late 2019, a new bill was passed to amend the FDA’s Deeming Regulations. Under this new law, retailers aren’t allowed to sell e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product to people under the age of 21.
Under it, even nicotine-free vaporizers and accessories like batteries and coils are considered tobacco products. Also known as the Tobacco 21 law, this rule doesn’t cover e-cigarette purchase, use, or possession; it only penalizes sellers.
It was put in place because the US was facing an underage vaping problem in 2019. In that year alone, around 28% of high school students in the US admitted to vaping.
Interestingly, despite interventions like the Tobacco 21 law, teen vaping continues to be a problem in the US, especially in schools.
In Canada, you are not allowed to sell vaping devices to people under the age of 18. Some provinces like Ontario have even pushed this to 19. Beyond that, Canadian regulators also restrict the amount of nicotine allowed in these products.
For one, the Nicotine Concentration in Vaping Products Regulations (NCVPR) states that any vaping product manufactured or sold in Canada should have a nicotine concentration of no more than 20mg/mL.
What is the legal age to vape in South America?
It’s illegal to sell or advertise e-cigarettes, vape juices, and all related accessories in Brazil. This ban has been in effect since 2009. Brazil’s health regulatory agency, Anvisa, even had a meeting on the issue in July 2022 and voted to keep the ban.
In the meeting that was streamed on YouTube, they even talked about coming up with further regulations that would help enforce the ban. But despite this, people still vape in Brazil, particularly youth aged 18 to 24.
The advertising, sale, importation, and distribution of vape pens are illegal in Argentina. You also can’t vape in public places apart from tobacco shops and clubs for tobacco smokers. These are also the only public places where you can smoke cigarettes.
Mexico banned the importation, exportation, sale, distribution, and trade of vaping products except by a few retailers. These retailers were allowed to do this because of some court decisions.
However, the ban still holds on other tobacco products and anything else that resembles a tobacco product.
What is the legal vaping age to vape in Oceania?
In Australia, it’s illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18, irrespective of their nicotine content. Also, adults (18+) are only allowed to buy and use nicotine-free vaping products.
You will need a prescription to get a vape pen or e-liquid with nicotine. And if you want to smoke a vape pen in public, you’ll have to steer clear of smoke-free areas. Beyond that, it’s even illegal to promote or advertise e-cigarettes in Australia.
Like Australia, New Zealand prohibits the sale of vaping products to young people under the age of 18, irrespective of whether they contain nicotine or not. It also prohibits vaping and smoking around schools and other areas that children frequent.
What is the legal age to vape in Europe?
The sale of vaping products to people under the age of 18 is prohibited in France. Many retailers there will ask for your ID when selling you these products, irrespective of whether they contain nicotine or not.
Beyond that, e-cigarettes can’t be sold in pharmacies, advertised in any way, or used in public transport, educational institutions, and open-plan offices. Breaking these rules results in penalties of up to 150 Euros.
Since 2018, you aren’t allowed to sell vape pens to people under the age of 18 in Germany. However, adults can buy any kind of vaping product they want without needing a prescription; they just can’t use them in public transport.
In Italy, you can’t buy and use vaping products that contain nicotine until you’re 18 years old. However, e-cigarettes can be advertised in line with the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) of 2014.
In England and the rest of the United Kingdom, it’s impossible to buy vaping products until you’re 18 years old, even if they don’t contain nicotine. You will be asked for ID when you buy these products even if you do it online.
You only need to be 16 years old or older to buy vape pens with nicotine or any other tobacco product in Belgium. This is the same case for Austria,
What is the legal age to vape in Asia?
As of now, South Korea only allows the sale of vapor products with nicotine to people of at least 19 years. No prescription is needed for such purchases. However, the country is working on more regulations that will further restrict the use of these products.
As of September 2022, there are around 20 bills in parliament that are geared toward this.
In China, vaping products can only be legally sold to those who are over the age of 18. Some online stores have even made it difficult to find such products on their sites. Also, there has been a ban on selling these products near certain educational institutions.
However, this has not prevented underage individuals from getting their hands on vape poems and e-liquids.
You have to be at least 20 years of age to buy vaping products in Japan; you will need to provide an ID to buy them. However, e-cigarettes with nicotine have been banned. But you can buy them online and have them delivered to you.
Vaping is banned in India; it has been banned since 2019. Before that, you could buy and use vaping products if you were at least 18 years of age. The ban was put in place to deal with teen vaping.
What is the legal age to vape in Africa?
It’s illegal to sell vaping products to anyone under the age of 18 in South Africa. The country is also looking to further restrict vaping and the use of other tobacco products.
For the most part, vaping is unregulated in Kenya. As such, the sale of e-cigarettes has no minimum age limit.
The minimum age for vaping in Ethiopia is 21 years of age. This was set in February 2019.
If you’re trying to figure out if you’re old enough to vape, you need to follow the steps below:
- Talk to your parents if you’re a minor
- If you’re an adult, find out if vaping is legal in your country; you can do this through an internet search
- If vaping is legal in your country, figure out if you’re old enough to buy vaping products
- If you find that you’re of age, buy your vaping products online or at a local shop
Are there any steps you would add to our list? Do you have a story to share about your first vaping experience? Let us know in the comment section below.