When vaping was first introduced to the UK, there was no legislation in place to prevent people of any age purchasing e-cigarettes.
However, after trying frantically to keep up with the pace of change, the government has put laws in place to limit their sales to those who are considered to be minors.
Vaping is becoming a lot more widespread throughout the UK, and more people than ever before are switching to e-cigs rather than tobacco cigarettes.
However, there have been recent changes in the law regarding the purchase of electronic cigarettes and e-liquids, and vapers must ensure that they don’t fall foul of legislation.
How old do You have to be to buy a vape in the UK?
In October 2015, the law was changed to ban retailers from selling e-cigarettes or e-juices to anyone who is aged under 18 years, and this includes both online and bricks and mortar stores.
It was also made illegal for any adult to try to buy e-cigarettes for anyone aged under 18 and even smoking in private vehicles which are carrying people under 18 has been banned, although vaping will still be permitted when transporting minors.
Although minors are not actually committing a crime if they attempt to buy e-cigarettes, any retailer that is caught selling these products to minors can be fined up to £2,500 for the offence.
There is still quite a lot of confusion amongst retailers, however, and in practice many youngsters under the legal age have been able to buy vaping equipment around the country without being asked to show any form of ID.
As the law has been updated a number of times, some sellers are still unaware of what is legal and what is not, and there is still a lot of debate about whether selling nicotine free e-liquid is legal or not.
What if I already have a vape – is it still illegal to use it?
Although it is not legal to buy e-cigarettes under the age of 18 in the UK, anyone aged under 18 is not yet committing a crime if they vape, either at home or in public.
There is still some debate as to whether or not young people should be permitted to vape at all, since the authorities are unable to decide whether or not there are long term health implications for young vapers.
How old do You have to be to smoke?
Whereas in the past anyone over the age of 16 was legally allowed to buy cigarettes in a store, the law was changed in recent years to prevent anyone under the age of 18 to buy any smoking paraphenalia.
Although 16 and 17 year olds are not able to buy cigarettes legally, they are legally allowed to smoke if they already have the cigarettes in their possession.
The laws surrounding smoking have changed considerably over the last few years, with plain brown packaging having been enforced in 2017, packs of 10 being eliminated and warning images now having to cover most of the packet.
With further laws set to come into force to outlaw smoking even further by 2020, it seems likely that more draconian rules will be implemented soon.