How Old Do You Have to be to Vape?

How Old Do You Have to be to Vape?

Vaping has a fairly rich history dating back over a decade (even longer if you count all the failed prototypes and products prior to 2004). But just like the gradual improvement of vape liquids and devices, laws surrounding their use also developed organically.

For the longest time, the vape industry was unregulated. This meant that things like device safety and e-liquid ingredients weren’t under the scrutiny of government oversight.

Alarmists often pointed to this as a clear sign of vaping being a risky hobby. Ironically, however, it was the exact opposite.

Sure, there were some bad apples, but most stores and liquid manufacturers saw the benefits of outdoing the competition. This inspired them to self-regulate on a variety of common issues, including age restriction.

This is why once the FDA’s Deeming Rule too effect in 2016, 48 states already had rules in place establishing minimum ages for vaping.

We should hardly find this surprising. The one thing vapes and cigarettes have in common is nicotine content. If it's illegal to sell nicotine-laden cigarettes to minors, the same logic applies with vape devices.

The difference, of course, is that vapes are meant for smoking cessation. Still, this isn't enough to justify selling them to minors, as the majority of vape retailers obviously understand.

What is the Minimum Federal Age for Vaping?

According to the FDA, the minimum federal age for selling vape products is 18. Again, by the time this rule kicked in, most states had already adopted their own laws. Coincidentally, most of these states chose 18 as the legal vaping age.

However, some preferred to keep it higher. While 18 seems to be the overwhelming consensus, some places decided to increase the limit to 19 or 21.

What are the Legal Vaping Ages for Each State?

All states (and Puerto Rico) have 18 set as the legal age, with the exception of the following:
Age 19

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Utah

Age 21

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Main
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Territory of Guam
  • Virginia

In most cases, the legal age to buy vape products is inline with each state’s minimum purchase age for tobacco.

What About Nicotine-Free Liquids?

Although zero nicotine e-liquids are nothing more than a mix of vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol and flavorings, these products are still trapped in the tobacco zone.

The technicality isn't in the liquid itself, but rather the method of delivery. Because vapes can (and usually are) used with nicotine e-juice, the government considers even zero nicotine liquids as "tobacco products". In other words, the same age restrictions apply.

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