Minors buying vape pens

Can minors buy vape pens in the UK? 4/5 (4)

Published On January 16, 2017 | By Nicole | About E-Cigarettes Articles

There is a big debate going on right now about whether or not teens should be allowed access to electronic cigarettes. In some ways, it seems like it could be helpful – because allowing teens access to these devices could make them less likely to choose to smoke the real thing.

But on the other hand, a lot of people have reservations about this. They’re afraid that vaping could still get teens addicted to nicotine, and that this could eventually lead to a cigarette habit (the gateway-theory).

But what does the law say? How old do you have to be to buy an electronic cigarette in the UK?

Here’s what you need to know.


The legal age for vaping in the UK

Information! As of October 1st of 2015, it is illegal in Britain for a retailer to sell an electronic cigarette or e-liquid to anyone under the age of 18.

Now with, that being said, an article that was published on dailymail.co.uk in January of 2017 did give us some interesting information regarding how easy it might be for minors to get their hands on nicotine-delivery systems in vape shops – and a lot of people (for good reason) aren’t happy with it.

According to an undercover trading standards operation, it was reported that 90% of the vape shops that were visited sold nicotine-inhaling products to underage volunteers…which raises a lot of questions about the kinds of security measures being employed in vape shops in the UK today.

It is clearly important that vape shops handle this situation better – despite the fact that many people believe that restricting access of vaping supplies from teenagers is a mistake. Mistake or not, the law is the law – and it should be taken seriously.

But beyond this, even a lot of vaping associations do not believe in the practice of selling electronic cigarettes to minors. Even before the law was passed, a lot of vape shops enacted their own policies that kept underage teens from getting access to the devices.

In fact, this news actually comes as quite a surprise to us – because the UK vaping scene has always been one that has been marked with responsibility and thoughtfulness in terms of youth and the sensitivity of the questions surrounding vaping and younger users.

Read Also:  Electronic Cigarette Side Effects

Should minors be using E-cigs at all?

This is, of course, the biggest debate of them all. On one hand, vaping can help teens to stay off of cigarettes – but then again, nicotine is a dangerous substance in larger doses. Should teens really be allowed to carry bottles of E-liquid around with them? Should they be able to just walk into a convenient store and buy an e-cig if they feel the urge for some nicotine in their system?

These are the big questions… but the law in the UK has probably played the biggest role in settling it by setting legal limits on who can actually purchase vaping products from shops.

But this still doesn’t really solve the issue of the ‘smoking vs. vaping’ debate for teens.

Do you put all of your eggs into the ‘quit through traditional methods’ (gum, patches, cold turkey, etc.) basket, or do you fight the evils of smoking with the much, much ‘lesser evil’ of vaping?

Public Health England has been surprisingly supportive of E-cigs since the famous review that caused them to acknowledge, openly and publicly, that E-cigs are up to 95% less harmful than cigarettes – but this doesn’t seem to have had an effect on the legal purchasing age.

It is estimated that there are about 2.8 million vapers in the UK today. But what a lot of people don’t know is that a lot of younger teens, and even pre-teens have been trying vaping. A study done a couple of years ago showed that about 6 percent of 10 and 11 year olds in Wales had already tried E-cigs, compared to just 2 percent who had tried actual cigarettes.

Of course, this isn’t so surprising – but it does cause some to be a bit nervous – hence the legislation, which perhaps is not ill-warranted at all. Even the vaping industry agrees that age limits should be in place for the purchasing of vaping products.

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8 Responses to Can minors buy vape pens in the UK?

  1. Megan-Rose Seymour says:

    Can a 16 year old buy a vape in the UK?

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Megan, sorry for not getting back to you any sooner. For some reason comment was not filtered properly. As for your question, it is illegal to sell vape products, including e-liquid to a person under the age of 18 but at the same time, current law states that it is legal to vape if you’re under 18. Hope this helps.

      • Holly Harris says:

        Can a person of 16 years of age smoke a vape if the liquid is 0% nicotine?

        • Nicole says:

          Hi Holly, as mentioned above in the reply to Megan’s comment – it is not illegal for a person under 18 to vape. Any person under 18 that is vaping under the current law would not be breaking the law. The person or a company that sells vape supplies to a person under 18 on the other hand would be breaking the law. I do however reckon that this is going to change at some point. Hope this helps.

          • Lisa Roberts says:

            A company sold my 14 year old vape juice which I started nicotine free. Have they broken the law or does this only apply to products containing nicotine?

  2. Nicole says:

    Hi Lisa, the store shouldn’t sell any devices, or liquids that contain nicotine to anyone who is under 18 years old, however, if this was only an e-liquid with 0mg nicotine strength, then it might not be exactly against the law. It’s more of a moral question and companies shouldn’t sell that to anyone under the 18 based on that.

  3. Shah says:

    Dear Nichole,

    Can a 16 year old buy e liquid with no nicotine???

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