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What Is the Legal Age to Vape Around the World?

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Just because vapes are available everywhere, including online, and cost little compared to cigarettes, doesn’t mean anyone can buy them.

Young man vaping in closed public space. Vaping is a great activity if you just want to enjoy the fun of it and all the fruity (and other) flavours, and if you want to blow big clouds and get involved in exciting cloud chasing competitions. It's especially good for anyone who has been a smoker and is on their journey towards a smoke-free and much healthier lifestyle. But vaping is not for everyone, especially if you're underage. Even though e-cigarettes don't contain tobacco — just a liquid base into which nicotine and flavours can be added — they are still mainly classed by governments around the world, including here in the UK, as tobacco products and regulated in much the same way as cigarettes. It may not make a lot of sense, but change may be on the way (we'll get to that a bit later on in this blog), but for now it means no advertising, promotions and giveaways to try and entice people to become customers. So if you live in the UK and indeed around most of Europe, you have to be at least 18 to smoke — or vape — and it's illegal to sell vape gear and supplies such as e-liquid refills to anyone under that age. In the United States, the legal age to vape varies by state: from 18 in most of the country to 19 in areas of the West Coast and other parts and 21 in some states, such as California and others. In large swathes of Asia, meanwhile, including Singapore and Thailand, it’s illegal for anyone, of any age, to vape.

E-Cigs as Gateway to Smoking?

As soon as e-cigarettes erupted onto the scene just a few short years ago, many people feared that if young people got their hands on vape gear, soon enough they would start smoking. E-cigs were branded in some quarters as a ‘gateway to cigarettes’ and young people who never smoked were urged not to take up the habit, even if just for the great flavours. Those fears have come to nothing, however. Public Health England, the leading health authority in the country, issued a revised advisory on vaping earlier this year and concluded that worries about vaping as a gateway to smoking were unfounded. It said that "the evidence does not support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people (youth smoking rates in the UK continue to decline, regular use is rare and is almost entirely confined to those who have smoked)". And it also said that "vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits ... e-cigarettes could be contributing to at least 20,000 successful new quits per year and possibly many more."

Calls to Loosen Vaping Regulations

Now there are moves to treat vaping gear differently from tobacco products, for the good of public health, and it could potentially include lowering the age at which it’s legal to vape in the UK. A group of MPs recently issued a report into vaping and called on the government to relax the rules so that more people, especially smokers, could vape and become healthier. They are asking the government to even let people vape on public transport, such as buses and trains, and in offices. The MPs, from Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, also want freedom to advertise e-cigarettes and a lowering of taxes on vaping products so smokers won't be deterred from using them. Committee chair Norman Lamb said existing laws had to change to reflect the reality that e-cigarettes were beneficial and not a risk to public health. "Smoking remains a national health crisis and the Government should be considering innovative ways of reducing the smoking rate," he said. "E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but current policy and regulations do not sufficiently reflect this and businesses, transport providers and public places should stop viewing conventional and e-cigarettes as one and the same. There is no public health rationale for doing so." Looking for amazing vape kits to get going with great e-cigarettes and enjoy all the cool flavours? Electric Tobacconist has just what you need — and we'll deliver for free in the UK and around Europe for orders over certain amounts. Shop now!