Vaping continues to rise in popularity worldwide, but that increased popularity has also brought increased scrutiny in the industry. Laws regarding how old you have to buy a vape have recently changed, which could be a damper on easy access to your favorite vaping products.
Along with changing age restrictions for vaping, you may have noticed a change in the products available, too. Within the past five years, CBD vape oil and hemp have begun to pop up as vaping options, legal THC oils and marijuana is available for purchase in many states, and their legal status is often ambiguous.
If you're confused about how old you have to be to get a vape and what exactly you can vape, you're in the right spot. In this article, we'll discuss how old you have to be to buy vapes, vape in general, and the legal status of common substances you love to vape. We'll also look at the laws in other countries and talk about why vaping regulations have recently changed.
With that said, let's answer our first question. How old do you have to be to buy a vape?
How Old Do You Have to Be to Vape?
In the U.S., you have to be at least 21 years old to buy a vaping device or vaping products. It includes nicotine and nicotine-free e-juices, atomizers, box mods, and general vape batteries. Essentially, anything related to vaping in a meaningful way requires you to be at least 21 years old or older to purchase.
It includes devices for oil vaping, dry herb vaping, wax vaping, and most related components and accessories.
What Is the Legal Age to Vape?
It would be best if you also were at least 21 years old to own and use vaping products. The laws regulating how old you need to be to vape are similar to tobacco and alcohol use laws. Retailers cannot sell these products to customers under the age of 21, and citizens under the age of 21 are not allowed to own these products.
Remember, this doesn't just refer to controlled substances like nicotine, CBD, or THC. It relates to all vaping devices and most vaping components, including vape batteries.
Legal Age to Buy Vapes in the U.S.
In case there was any confusion, the nationwide legal age to vape in the U.S. is 21. This supersedes any country or state laws. Until recently, the federal vaping age was 18, and there were a variety of different states that had their specific rules regarding how old you have to be to vape.
This changed in 2019 when the federal vaping age was changed to 21. As a reminder, this includes all vaping substances (including nicotine-free e-liquids) and vaping products.
The Age to Vape in Countries Around the World
While the federal vaping age in the U.S. is 21, the age requirement will vary depending on what country you find yourself in. This was already true for controlled substances like alcohol, where countries like Germany and Italy have famously low drinking ages of 16.
In most countries, vaping is heavily regulated because many vape juices contain nicotine. Since e-juice vaping products often have nicotine, many governments regulate vaping in the same way that they regulate tobacco. Some countries restrict vaping more heavily than the U.S., opting to ban all vaping substances and vaping devices altogether.
As you may have imagined, vaping laws vary widely depending on what specific country you examine. Some countries ban vaping altogether, others have similar rules to the U.S., and some have more relaxed age restrictions.
First, let's start by taking a look at some of the countries that ban vaping outright:
- Australia (nicotine-free vaping is still available to consumers)
- Mexico (all vaping banned by Presidential decree in 2020)
- Japan (nicotine-free vaping still available to consumers)
Most countries allow vaping in some form, depending on your age. The following countries have the same legal vaping age as the U.S., which is 21:
These countries have a minimum vaping age of 19 years old:
- South Korea
- Algeria (applies only to purchasing products. There are no age restrictions for use)
Most countries with a minimum vaping age state consumers need to be at least 18 years old to purchase and use vaping devices. Those countries include (but are not limited to):
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
Finally, some countries have no minimum age to vape. Some of those countries include:
- The central African Republic
- The Gambia
If you plan on traveling and want to know whether or not you can legally vape, researching vape laws for your target destination is a must!
Other Vaping Restrictions
Remember, the vaping laws being discussed are specifically for e-cigarettes, usually infused with nicotine. Even though other substances can be vaped, like dry herbs and wax, they frequently have their specific restrictions, even if vaping is seen as primarily legal.
For example, you have to be 21 to vape anything in the U.S., but not all states allow vaping substances like cannabis. According to the DEA, it wasn't until 2016 that CBD was federally legalized, and THC is still considered a Schedule 1 substance. Each state has its legal status for cannabis, with some states allowing for recreational use, some states allowing only for medicinal use, and some states banning it entirely.
Flavored Disposable Vapes
If you are a fan of disposable vapes, you may have noticed a sudden decrease in flavor options. That's because the U.S. banned the sale of all prefilled, flavored vapes, except for tobacco and menthol flavors. The ban was put in place to reduce teen vaping since research suggests that fruity or mint flavors were the most popular among teens that vaped.
A substantial upward swing in teen vaping numbers was one of the primary reasons vaping laws began to change. We discuss this a bit more in detail below.
Why Was the Legal Age to Vape Raised to 21?
The primary reason the legal age to vape was raised to 21 in the U.S. was to address the epidemic of nicotine addiction being observed in minors. When looking at middle school and high school students, a 2019 study found that more than 10% of middle school students and nearly 30% of high school students had used an e-cigarette (vaping) product within that month.
Once the legal vaping age was raised, those numbers dropped significantly. In a study conducted in 2020, researchers found that the numbers decreased to 4.7% of middle school students and 19.6% of high school students.
Why Did the Age Increase Drop Vaping Numbers?
Why would increasing the vaping age decrease the number of minors vaping? After all, some age restriction has been in place in the U.S. for years now, but vaping numbers among middle school and high school students continued to increase until after the age was raised.
The reason is that raising the vaping age from 18 to 21 significantly reduced minors' access to vaping products. There are many 18-year-olds in high school, and many of these students were buying vaping products and supplying them to children. With an increased vaping age of 21 in effect, 18-year-olds no longer had easy access to buying vapes or vape juices.
The result of the decreased access was decreased vaping numbers. Both of these new restrictions have been effective in reducing the rate at which minors use vaping devices.
Why Does the Legal Age of Vaping Differ From Country to Country?
There are many different reasons that different countries have different vaping laws, and it's the same kinds of reasons that other controlled substances, like alcohol, have varying legal statuses.
Many countries have theocracy-like governments, which means religious values play a role in defining consumer laws. These kinds of countries are more likely to restrict nicotine use or outright ban it heavily. Other countries have a different cultural view of vaping or nicotine, so those laws are more relaxed.
Most developed countries have similar vaping laws because research is detailed that nicotine is not only highly addictive but it also has disastrous effects on youth brain development. If country leaders have access to and understand those kinds of studies, they are more likely to enact restrictions to limit youth access to products like nicotine.
In short, countries have different laws for vaping for the same reason they have other rules about a variety of various topics. If you plan on visiting a new country, always be sure to study what kinds of regulations there are regarding your favorite vaping habit.
If you're in the U.S., you'll have to wait until you're 21 to enjoy any vaping product or device. Once you reach the legal age to vape, you'll have a wide variety of products to choose from. You'll not only be able to select from e-liquid vapes with or without nicotine, but you'll be able to consider dry herb or wax vapes, too.
If you're considering dry herb vaping, you'll be hard-pressed to find a higher-quality option than the Firefly 2+. It uses state-of-the-art convection technology to quickly create delicious, smooth vapor from whatever dry herb you have chosen to enjoy.
In the market for a disposable THC oil pen? The Firefly Mini is a fantastic option for convenient oil vaping while on the go. It's available in a variety of different THC strains, and it maintains the high level of quality you've come to expect from Firefly.
Take a look at what vaping options Firefly has available that may be a good fit for your legal vaping needs.