What’s the Legal Age to Vape UK?

Vaping has become a hugely popular alternative to smoking in recent years, with millions having already made the switch from conventional cigarettes to e-cigs. 

In fact, vape devices have been so successful that the UK government is currently finalising plans to start offering e-cigarettes on prescription, which they hope will provide access for all and drive home the message that vaping is much less harmful than smoking for those who are still skeptical.

With that said, despite their efficacy as a stop-smoking aid, the law states you need to be of a certain age to purchase vaping products and many people ask us questions such as ‘what is the legal age to vape?’. So, whether you’re a teenager wondering if you’re old enough to vape, or you’re a retailer who needs to know the rules on selling vaping products to young people, here’s all the information you need.

what's the legal age to vape UK

Legal age to vape UK

  • UK vapers must be at least 18 to purchase vape products
  • Those found to be purchasing vape products for U18s could face prosecution
  • While it’s illegal to sell devices and e-liquids to U18s it’s not illegal for minors to own vape products

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that the legal age to buy vape products depends on where you live. If you’re living in the UK, then you need to be at least 18-years-old to purchase any vape products. This includes e-liquids, vape devices and any other accessories used for vaping. 

Like with alcohol and cigarettes, it’s also illegal for adults to purchase vape products for under-18s. Anyone caught breaking this law could face prosecution in much the same way you would if you bought booze or tobacco products for minors.

Despite this, some adults still purchase vape products for under-18s, but while it’s illegal for retailers to sell vaping products to people under the age of 18, in the UK it’s not illegal for people below that age to own vaping devices or products. That’s because the law is focused on the sale of vape products rather than controlling who owns them. 

This creates somewhat of a grey area, but to ensure everyone stays within the parameters of the law it’s best to stay away from vaping products in the UK until you’re at least adult-age.

legal age to vape UK

How does this compare to Europe?

Now you know the legal age to vape in the UK, you might be wondering how our rules compare to those of our European neighbours. This may be especially important if you’re going on holiday or planning to move to a country on the continent as any differences in the law could mean your ability to buy vape products is affected.

Most countries use the age at which you’re considered an adult as a guide for allowing the sale of vaping products, and across most of Europe that age is generally the same as it is here in the UK – 18. 

So whether you’re in France, Germany, Spain or Scandinavia, the minimum age to buy vape products will be the same as it is here.

In Italy, the minimum age is also 18, although in the Vatican – the religious city-state situated in the centre of Rome – e-cigarettes are completely banned. So if you’re in the Italian capital and you fancy seeing the Sistine Chapel or St Peter’s Basilica, remember to leave your vape device back in the hotel!

what's the legal age to vape uk

Rest of the world

Now you know the legal age to vape in the UK, you might be wondering how our rules compare to those of our European neighbours. This may be especially important if you’re going on holiday or planning to move to a country on the continent as any differences in the law could mean your ability to buy vape products is affected.

Most countries use the age at which you’re considered an adult as a guide for allowing the sale of vaping products, and across most of Europe that age is generally the same as it is here in the UK – 18. 

So whether you’re in France, Germany, Spain or Scandinavia, the minimum age to buy vape products will be the same as it is here.

In Italy, the minimum age is also 18, although in the Vatican – the religious city-state situated in the centre of Rome – e-cigarettes are completely banned. So if you’re in the Italian capital and you fancy seeing the Sistine Chapel or St Peter’s Basilica, remember to leave your vape device back in the hotel!

legal age to vape UK

Laws changing frequently

E-cigarettes are still a relatively new phenomenon so, naturally, vaping law is an ever-evolving landscape with the rules changing all the time. 

While governments of some countries such as the UK continue to embrace vaping as a valuable smoking cessation tool which results in progressive policies, sadly others seem to be going backwards with tighter regulation such as bans on flavoured products. As we’ve seen, some countries have even gone as far as to ban vapes altogether, largely as a result of misguided pressure from the World Health Organization (WHO).

We’ll try to update this post whenever relevant changes are made to laws, but for up-to-date information you should always check your government’s website just in case any amendments have recently been made to the laws around vaping. 

Likewise, if you’re going on holiday and you want to know if you’ll be able to buy vape products – or vape at all – then you should always check the laws of the country you’re travelling to. Otherwise, you might find yourself in hot water for vaping where you shouldn’t, which could put a serious dampener on your trip!

To vape or not to vape?

So now you know the answer to the question ‘what is the legal age to vape?’. If you’re not quite old enough to buy e-liquids or vape devices, then unfortunately you’ll just have to wait it out until you’re 18. On the other hand, if you meet the legal age requirement then perhaps it’s time to start looking into getting your first vape device as a stop-smoking aid. 

We have a range of excellent vape starter kits, while there are some great disposable vapes on the market which make the transition from smoking to vaping as smooth and straight-forward as possible. If you have any questions or you’d just like some more information, check out our Getting Started Guide which is great for beginners looking to start their vape journey. 

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