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How Old Do You Have To Be To Vape in the UK?
Over the past few years, vaping and smoking laws in the UK have been changing. Most retailers and even buyers are still confused about what is legal and what is not. What’s more, the implementation of some of the laws is still vague.
Understanding how old you should be to buy vaping equipment and how old you need to be to vape in the UK is essential. Most of the laws that affect vaping in the UK have been passed into law in the past few years. Therefore, most buyers and sellers are not fully aware of them, or what is required during buying and selling and of vape products.
Laws of Vaping in the UK
Initially, there were no laws in the UK prohibiting or limiting the age at which people could buy e-cigarettes or vaping equipment. Over the years as vaping has become increasingly popular, lawmakers saw it necessary to add some control. The first laws on vaping were passed in 2015. They have been continually reviewed since and most of the efforts have been centred on controlling and putting legislation in place to control the sale of vaping equipment to minors.
Unlike the beginning, vaping has caught on significantly, and more people now prefer e-cigarettes compared to traditional smoking of tobacco. Also, most people who are trying to quit smoking have turned to vaping as a way to kick the smoking habit. With the increasing preference for vaping, the government has had to put measures in place to ensure minors don’t have access to any vaping hardware or liquids.
It is expected that such legislation will continue to be enacted. It is expected that by 2020, there will be more restrictive laws to manage vaping and selling of vaping equipment. Being aware of such legislation to avoid trouble is important.
What is the Legal Age to Buy a Vape in the UK?
In 2015, legislation was put in place to prohibit retailers from selling vaping equipment like e-cigarettes or e-juices to buyers who are under 18 years of age. These laws are applied to both online websites and high street stores.
Under the same laws, it also became illegal for an adult to buy e-cigarettes for underage users. The rules also prohibited smoking in private vehicles if they had occupants who are under 18 years.
Under these laws, it is a crime for a minor to attempt to buy e-cigarettes, and the retailer could be fined up to £2,500 if they are caught trying to sell vaping equipment and liquids to minors.
The laws on vaping were made more stringent in 2016. Changes and additions to the laws affecting vaping included:
- A requirement to have all e-cigarettes and e-liquids to be registered with the medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency before selling
- The size of refillable tanks for e-cigarettes was also limited to no more than 2ml
- All e-liquids being sold cannot be sold in quantities larger than 10ml
- All e-liquids were required to have a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml unless products with a higher rating were registered as medicine and met the set criteria
- All packaging of e-liquids had to be tamper evident and child resistant
- Stimulants like taurine, caffeine, or colourings should not be added to the e-liquids
- There were also new rules and guidelines set on the labelling
These new regulations apply to those selling vaping equipment and liquids online and in stores. The laws also extended to those who promote their products on social media.
Some of the laws apply to brewers and makers of liquids. It is essential to understand the laws that affect the different stakeholders in the business to avoid violation of the law.
The laws are still continually changing is leaving most retailers in a state of limbo as it remains unclear whether selling e-liquids that contain 0% nicotine is legal or not.
Is it Illegal to Use Vaping Equipment if I Already Have It?
The UK laws prohibit the selling of vaping equipment and liquids to minors under the age of 18 years, however, the same minors are not committing any crime if they vape at home or in public.
Because lawmakers have not yet established if there are lifelong health effects associated with vaping, there is still debate on whether minors should be allowed to vape or not.
What is the Legal Smoking Age in the UK?
Previously, anyone over 16 years of age could buy cigarettes in a store but in recent years, the law has been changed, and buyers should now be over 18 years old.
In the last few years, there was a wave of new laws regarding smoking. Cigarettes since are required to be packed in plain brown packing with warning images covering most of the packets. Packs of 10 cigarettes were eliminated, and it’s expected by 2020, there will be more laws with regards to smoking and vaping.
Compared to other countries where vaping has picked up, the UK has the most restrictive laws. The 18+ rule of selling e-cigs to minors has already been implemented, and retailers risk hefty fines for selling such hardware to minors.