As the science-fiction fans among us probably guessed, this isn’t the answer to our question. Instead, it’s the answer to the Ultimate Question about Life, the Universe, and Everything, in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Strangely, apart from a tribute to the master who taught us the importance of towels in galactic travels, it is also an apt way to start this post. You see, we could tell you that “you have to be over 18” and call it a day, but we would be lying. Or, rather, we could be incorrect. We can’t provide a single number for everyone, because the correct answer is “it depends on where you live.”
Not all countries, states, cities, share the same laws. You might even find yourself on a cursed piece of land where vaping is outright banned.
So, let’s see together how the legal age for vaping varies across the world.
Mere years ago, vaping was unregulated in the USA. Although no laws restricted vaping in any way, most vaping vendors treated it the same as smoking. They refused to sell vaping products to teenagers and tried to keep their customer base strictly over 18. Not everyone, though.
Thanks to older friends, irresponsible vaping vendors, or even more irresponsible parents, teens as young as 12 years old had (and still have) access to vaping gear.
In the meantime, vaping was regulated, and the legal age set at 18. We skipped that, though, because it doesn’t matter anymore. Since 2019, the legal age for vaping is officially 21 years. Everywhere in the states according to the FDA.
Older articles on the topic might mention how each state can have different laws, but that was before 12-20-2019. That’s when the president signed for updates to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, changing the age limit from 18 to 21. Since this is federal law, all states have to comply.
Unlike the US of A, Europe doesn’t have a central governing body that can forcefully apply laws everywhere. Most countries in Europe follow the same guidelines, treating vaping almost the same as smoking. There are variations, though, with some countries applying more restrictions.
In most European countries, the rule of thumb is that you should be over 18 to vape. Theoretically, if you live in Italy, Belgium, Greece, Sweden, Bulgaria, Switzerland, or the Czech Republic, you can legally vape even if you’re younger, as long as you do it without nicotine.
Britain might very well be the most vape-friendly (soon-to-be-formerly) European country. Most doctors in the UK are informed about vaping and know how it can help smokers quit inhaling burned tobacco. British studies show how vaping is vastly safer than smoking, and you can even buy a vaping setup inside hospitals.
That doesn’t mean that vaping in England is a free-for-all, no matter the age. Vaping products in the UK are better regulated than in other European countries, and there are hefty fines for everyone found selling them to minors. The legal age for vaping in the UK is 18 or older here, too.
Although for most countries in Asia, the average legal age for vaping or smoking is 18, you shouldn’t take it for granted. Especially since, depending on the country, vaping, smoking, and other things that make life worth living might be considered illegal.
We are joking, of course: you can live without smoking or vaping. Especially if you live in Bhutan of Turkmenistan, where tobacco sales are illegal. On the other hand, teenage nicotine addicts should think about moving to Iraq, Tajikistan, or Yemen. There, if we are not mistaken, everyone and their grandson have access to tobacco products.
Teenagers in Bangladesh have it rough since they must be at least 16 years old to smoke or vape. North Korea brings the legal age up to an almost adult 17. South Korea raises the age limit to 19. In Japan, Singapore, and Thailand, it’s 20 years old, and in Mongolia and Sri Lanka gets a +1 bonus to 21.
In most countries, selling products to people under X years old is illegal. As we saw, that number might change from country to country, place to place. Sometimes, though, age is not the only restriction.
In Australia and Greece, you can’t import nicotine. In Australia, you need to have a prescription from your doctor to purchase nicotine legally. Greeks have it better since they can still find Nic in local vape shops. Not in bottles over 20 mL, though, or in concentrations over 20 mg. And unlike Australians, Greeks can’t import anything vape related.
In other words, there aren’t any rules set in stone. Thus, it would be wise to check out your government’s official sites for any related information before rushing to buy your first vaping setup.