How old do you have to be to vape in the UK?

There is no doubt that vaping as an alternative to combustible cigarette has tremendously influenced a great number of adult smokers. Although vaping has helped part of adult smokers quit smoking, it has triggered another social problem: Minors vaping issue. Can I vape at 13? Is 16 the legal age to vape in the UK? Can I vape without nicotine under 18? A hell lot of similar questions of “How old do you have to be to vape in the UK?” emerged on our customer service center and Google search box. So here we directly put forward the answer, according to the vaping law in the UK, you must be 18 or over to buy e-cigarettes or e-liquids. In the same way, an adult is forbidden to buy a vape for a minor, too.

Minors need to know

In the UK, minors under the age of 18 can not purchase any vape-related and tobacco-related products which means all the e-liquids, vape kits, vape accessories, including nicotine-free e-liquids are not available for minors. The law applies offline and online; you will have to prove that you are of legal age to vape in the UK vape shop through a variety of different checks. Maybe there are minors thinking of letting an adult to buy vapes for them, but if it is caught by the local authorities, the adult may face prosecution by the law.

According to the survey statistic by the ITC Youth survey data (16 to 19 year olds): we find out that smoking prevalence has dropped and vaping prevalence has a higher proportion than smoking prevalence among young people. And the main reasons for vaping were to: “give it a try”, “for fun/I like it”, and “liking the flavours”. However, we do not recommend minors under the age of 18 vaping, it is also forbidden by the law.

Adult vapers need to know
Like I mentioned above, you are able to purchase and use vape products when you come to the adult age of 18 in the UK. But can you buy a vape product for a minor? Since 1st October 2015, purchasing vaping products for anybody under the age of 18 is a criminal offence in the UK. What’s more, in most of transport public places, the workers are not allowed to smoke or vape in front of underage people whilst at work. Apparently this is to protect minors from second hand smoking and potential action imitation risks. So as a moral adult, let’s protect our minors from vaping and smoking to create a harmonious environment for all of us.

Suppliers need to know

It is illegal for vape adverts to include models who appear to be under the age of 25, for vape retailers, providing vape products to minors is also an illegal behavior. By this law, if a vape retailer sells vape to a minor, the retailer could be fined up to£2500 as a result.

As part of the EU's Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), directives set out in 2014, which came into effect in 2017, the maximum nicotine content of a liquid allowed within the UK is 20mg/ml, and bottles may not contain more than 10ml of liquid and must be child-proof and tamper evident. Likewise, atomizers sold within the country cannot have a capacity of more than 2ml. In addition, certain additives within flavourings/liquids are banned (such as caffeine, taurine and certain colourings). Finally, all e-cigarettes and e-liquids sold within the UK must be registered with MHRA(Medicines And Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency). Here is a brief list of the rules from TPD Compliance:

·The e-liquid container namely tank(cartridge), cannot have the capacity for e-liquid over 2ml.
·Each bottle of e-liquid containing nicotine, shall not be more than 10ml.
·E-liquid containing nicotine, nicotine strength shall not be above 20mg/ml.
·E-liquid cannot contain certain ingredients like: colouring, caffeine, taurine and other ingredients deemed unsafe by the directive.
·Packaging should be child-proof and tamper-evident.
·Package should include WARNING label.

Legal age to vape in other countries

16 years old
Belgium. By the way, it is legal to buy and sell nicotine-free e-liquids to young individuals in Belgium.

18 years old
Members of EU and Schengen Area (exceptions are Belgium (min. 16 y.o.) and Norway (doctor’s referral required))
Costa Rica

19 years old
South Korea

20 years old

21 years old
United States

(Source Global Tobacco Control, and Global smoking and THR database)


Can I vape at 13 in the UK?
No, you can’t. You must be 18 or over to buy and use e-cigarettes.

Can I vape without nicotine under 18?
No, you can’t. As long as zero-nicotine e-liquid can be used with a vape device (like a mod or atomizer) that can also be used with nicotine-containing e-juice, it is regulated the same way because it is defined as a vape/tobacco product which is illegal for a retailer to sell zero-nicotine e-liquid to anyone under 18 in the UK.

Can an adult purchase vape products for underage?
No, he can’t. Purchasing vaping products for anybody under the age of 18 is a criminal offence in the UK.

Can a vape retailer sell vape products to minors?
No he can’t. If a vape retailer sells vape to a minor, the retailer could be fined up to£2500 as a result.