How Old Do You Have To Be To Vape In The UK?

how old do you have to be to vape in the uk

The amount of adult vapers in the UK today is currently at the highest it’s ever been, with over 4 million adults now opting to use E-Cigarettes which is brilliant to see!

The awareness of E-Cigarettes has increased significantly with the promotion of using these to quit smoking, especially for adult smokers as GP’s and Stop Smoking services are heavily backing the use of them as a quitting tool. But unfortunately, the number of “underage” users of E-Cigarettes is also starting to creep up.

In this blog, I’m going to take a look at the laws surrounding the age limit for using E-Cigarettes here in the UK, and explain how old you have to be to purchase anything vape related, including products that do not even contain nicotine, and why it’s essential that the laws are observed and the sale of nicotine based products to underage users has to stop.

challenge 25 poster

How Old Do You Have To Be To Vape In The UK?

18 years old. Pretty simple and straight forward don’t you agree? And every shop that sells anything age restricted in the UK operates a Challenge 25 policy where if you look under 25, you will be asked to provide Age Identification, as the picture above states.

The UK Government introduced a specific law for Vaping in 2015, just as Vaping was really starting to pick up some traction which put it in line with accordance to the already existing Tobacco laws which statea anyone wishing to purchase tobacco products must be 18 years or older. And the Government classified Vaping products as tobacco products…don’t get me started on this!

If you cast your minds back quite a few years now, you may remember that up until 2007, the legal age for buying tobacco products was actually 16 years, but the Government then increased it to 18 years old.

What Does The Age Restriction Apply To?

Basically, anything and everything to do with Vaping. Meaning if you’re under 18 years old, you cannot buy any kind of Vaping paraphernalia and this covers coils, devices, tanks, literally anything to do with Vaping.

Whilst none of these things I’ve listed above doesn’t contain Nicotine, it’s the fact that they MAY eventually contain Nicotine and then used to vape. This ties in with the fact that when you buy a vape, or a tank, or a pack of coils, they’ll come with a big warning label saying something along the lines of


These warning labels are an essential inclusion and must be added on to everything Vape related as part of the TPD legislations which were put into force in 2016, a year after the law change to do with Vaping.

What About 0mg Vape Juice?

This is arguably the most grey area when it comes to the laws, but simply put, the same rules apply as to what I’ve mentioned above, and you have to be 18 to purchase 0mg vape juice, because? You guessed it, it MAY eventually contain Nicotine. And it’s obviously made to be used with an E-Cigarette which under 18s shouldn’t be in possession of in the first place, so why would they need to be buying 0mg vape juice?

person using disposable vape

The Problems With Underage Vaping In The UK

What blog of mine would it be if I didn’t mention Disposable Vapes?! Well, here it is!

Unfortunately, the “youth vaping” numbers here in the UK seem to be creeping up year on year, since around 2021, and that’s uncoincidentally when Disposable Vapes started becoming popular and flooding the shelves of shops, from vape shops to corner shops to petrol stations, they are literally everywhere it feels like!

A study conducted by Action on Smoking and Health found out that the use of Disposable Vapes amongst 11-17 year olds in 2022 had increased SEVEN TIMES more than what it was at the year previous. This is pretty scary to see such a steep rise in usage, but it’s not exactly as terrible as you may think and I’ll explain why.

This amount is the number who have USED Disposable Vapes, and this could mean anything from having a puff on a mates one, to being a consistent and frequent user of them, so it may not be as bad as we think. But this statistic is clung on to with great force and occasionally thrown out of context by anti vaping groups and made to sound considerably worse than it actually may be.

Shops Not Carrying Out Age Verification Are The Problem

As I mentioned, Disposable Vapes are being sold in what feels like every single shop you go in, and the large majority of them are not reputable vape shops either. Corner Shops, Bargain shops, mobile phone repair shops and even American sweet shops seem to be selling Disposable Vapes in a big to latch on to the latest craze and make a quick buck where possible.

And according to reports from Trading Standards Agencies, it’s these types of shops that are showing no regard or care to the minimum age limit for purchasing an E-Cigarette nor are they carrying out any sort of ID checks/age verification processes and this is how 14-15-16 year olds are getting their hands on Disposable Vapes with somewhat relative ease.

These shops are also the ones that are appearing in the news consistently after getting raided for selling counterfeit products, ranging from anything like mobile phones, bags, game console controllers and you guessed it…Disposable Vapes.

And they’re in turn tarnishing the reputation of the Vaping Industry as negative media coverage is being spread not only about these shops, but also the fact that youths are easily accessing Disposable Vapes and this is fuelling the call for them to be banned, which in turn could cause issues for adult vapers who may be using Disposables as a way to keep them away from smoking.