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How Old Do You Have to Be to Vape Around the World in 2023?

Nicole Flanigan

Written by: Nicole Flanigan

Updated on December 12, 2023

How old do you have to be to vape

So, you’ve decided to dive into the world of vaping, but wait, there’s a catch—age restrictions! Yep, the global vaping age regulations are like a puzzle, and understanding them is key. So, how old do you have to be to vape? Whether you’re a vaper, a parent, or just plain curious, you’re in the right place. In this extensive article, we’re going to break down the legal age to vape in the USA, Canada, and around the world.

What is the Legal Age to Buy Vapes in the USA?

In December 2019, the legal vaping age in the U.S. underwent a massive change. Prior to this, the legal age to purchase vaping products was 18, consistent with the age for purchasing traditional cigarettes. However, the federal government decided it was time to raise the bar. The age to buy vape products was increased to 21 years old, aligning it with the legal drinking age and marking a significant shift in the nation’s vaping landscape.

Legal Age To Buy Vape in the USA

This federal law, known as the “Tobacco 21” law, aimed to curb underage vaping and reduce the health risks associated with it. The move was motivated by concerns about the rising rates of e-cigarette use among teenagers, with policymakers hoping that raising the age limit would restrict access to vaping products for young people.

States have rights, too

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: While the federal government set a minimum age of 21 for purchasing vaping products, it left room for individual states to impose stricter regulations if they wished. This created a complex patchwork of vaping age laws across the country, with some states choosing to align precisely with the federal law while others decided to take a different approach.

For instance, states like California and Texas chose to conform to the federal standard of 21 as the minimum age to buy vapes. Most states have, as a matter of fact. Some states are still adjusting to the Tobacco 21 law, but most are following the federal regulations. States like West Virginia and Alaska which had laws set to 18 and 19 respectively now require people to be 21 to purchase them.

To add another layer of complexity, local cities and towns within states may also set their own vaping age requirements. This means that in some cities or counties, you might need to be 21 to buy vapes, even if the state’s age limit is 18.

Age Restrictions in Every State

To help you navigate this regulatory maze, here’s a data table summarizing the age restrictions for purchasing vaping products in each U.S. state, including whether they align with the federal law or have different regulations. As of right now, all US states are required to check for 21+ IDs to avoid selling tobacco products and vapes to minors.

What is the Legal Age to Buy Vapes in Canada?

Canada has maintained a consistent legal age for purchasing vaping products, which is 18 years old, across the nation. This age limit was set as part of the federal Tobacco and Vaping Products Act, which came into effect in May 2018. The act was designed to regulate the sale, labeling, and promotion of vaping products and aimed to strike a balance between allowing adult smokers to access vaping as a potentially less harmful alternative and protecting youth from the risks associated with vaping.

Before this federal regulation, some provinces had their own age limits and regulations, creating a patchwork of rules across the country. However, the federal law brought uniformity to the age limit for buying vapes. Still, different provinces and territories within Canada can set their own age limits, with some being set to 19 or 21.

What is the Legal Age to Vape in Countries All Over the World?

All Over the World - The Earth

Vaping age regulations vary widely across the globe, creating a complex landscape of rules and restrictions that might be hard to follow if you do a lot of traveling. The problem is that all the laws have different definitions across the world. Some countries have nuanced restrictions, while others have very little consideration for vaping.

That said, there frankly just isn’t enough data to give you the specific rules and regulations of all 195 countries around the globe. Further, since so many countries have different rules for cities, states, and territories, the laws are changing constantly. The best word of advice is to double and triple-check the laws in the area you live in and any areas you will be traveling to to ensure that you’re always obeying the law. In the following sections, we’ll take a look at the different laws for vaping in countries across the world that have established laws about vaping ages. You can use this handy chart to help you.

Vaping age restrictions around the world

Continent Country Minimum Age Additional Notes
Asia China 18 Unclear if nicotine content affects the minimum age.
Asia Malaysia Unregulated Liquid nicotine has no age restriction.
Asia Japan 20 No regulations for non-nicotine e-cigarettes.
Asia Pakistan 18 E-cigarette market remains unregulated.
Asia South Korea 19 Non-nicotine e-cigarettes are considered consumer products.
Asia India Banned Federal ban on e-cigarettes, but loosely enforced.
Asia Israel 18 Vapes can’t be used in public places.
Asia Bahrain 18 Different regions may have an age limit set to 21.
Asia Vietnam 18 All e-cigarettes are considered tobacco products, and sale to minors is prohibited.
Asia North Korea Unregulated Insufficient Data on policies in North Korea.
Europe France 18 Nicotine content does not affect the minimum age.
Europe United Kingdom 18 Unclear legality of selling nicotine-free e-liquid.
Europe Germany 18 Nicotine content does not affect the minimum age.
Europe Italy 18 E-cigarettes without nicotine may not have a minimum age.
Europe Russia 18 E-cigarettes are not considered tobacco products.
Europe Slovenia 18 Unclear if minimum age varies with nicotine content.
Europe Greece 18 No minimum age for nicotine-free e-cigarettes.
Europe Spain 18 No apparent distinction based on nicotine content.
Europe Sweden 18 No age minimum for nicotine-free e-cigarettes.
Europe Bulgaria 18 No apparent distinction based on nicotine content.
Europe Portugal 18 No apparent age limit for nicotine-free e-cigarettes.
Europe Croatia 18 Nicotine content does not impact the minimum age.
Europe Romania 18 Unclear if nicotine content affects the minimum age.
Europe Netherlands 18 Nicotine content does not affect the minimum age.
Europe Czech Republic 18 No apparent age limit for nicotine-free e-cigarettes.
Europe Switzerland Unregulated Producers agreed not to sell to under 18s. The law goes into effect in 2024 to make the minimum age 18.
Europe United Arab Emirates (UAE) 18 Strict regulations and fines for minors caught using vapes.
North America United States 21 Age ranges from 18 to 21 depending on the state.
North America Canada 18 Minimum age varies by province, 18, 19, or 21 in most.
North America Mexico 18 Non-nicotine vapes may not have restrictions.
South America Paraguay 18 Laws often do not apply to e-cigarettes.
South America Brazil 18 Marketing of e-cigarettes is illegal.
South America Argentina 18 The Sale or marketing of e-cigarettes is illegal.
South America Chile 18 No minimum age limit for purchasing vapes over the internet.
South America Colombia 18 Unclear Regulations
South America Peru 18 No other regulations in place.
South America Ecuador 18 Special regulations in place for use, advertising, and sales.
Oceania New Zealand 18 No apparent impact of nicotine content on minimum age.
Oceania Australia 18 Legal age varies by state; non-nicotine vapes allowed.
Oceania Vanuatu 18 Must be 18 or older to use and purchase.
Oceania Fiji 18 Illegal to use in public places.

Vaping Age Regulations in Asia

Asia, the world’s largest continent, encompasses a vast and diverse array of countries, cultures, and regulatory approaches. While Asia comprises 50 countries, we only have specific vaping information for a select few that have laws in place or have addressed vaping. Since the majority of them don’t, here’s a glimpse into what vaping in Asia looks like.

In some Asian countries, there are clear age restrictions for vaping. For instance, in China, vaping is generally allowed for adults aged 18 and above, although uncertainty remains regarding the impact of nicotine content on the minimum age. Similarly, in Bahrain, you can vape at age 18 or older, though some areas may have restrictions for those under age 21.

In Japan, you must be 20 years or older to purchase or use vapes. South Korea sets the minimum age for vaping at 19; however, non-nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are considered consumer products, exempt from this age restriction. In Malaysia, the minimum age for vaping was 18, but intriguingly, it was removed from the Poisons Act, which removed an age restriction on liquid nicotine products. Lastly, in Vietnam, vaping is generally restricted to individuals aged 18 and above, with all e-cigarettes classified as tobacco products, prohibiting their sale to minors.

On the other hand, some Asian nations have adopted various levels of restrictions or bans on vaping. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), vaping is legal for those 18 and up, with strict rules to prevent minors from using them. In India, there is no federal legislation concerning e-cigarettes, resulting in a patchwork of regulations across states and a federal ban on e-cigarettes that is loosely enforced—declaring those with nicotine as unapproved drugs.

Pakistan‘s e-cigarette market remains largely unregulated but requires users to be 18 to purchase them. Likewise, Israel generally lacks age restrictions on vaping, but users must be 18 or older to buy them. Bahrain technically does not permit vaping, but specific regulations are minimal. Lastly, the vaping landscape in North Korea remains largely undocumented due to limited access to information. However, new reports are showing that North Korea may soon be employing rigid smoking laws.

Vaping Age Regulations in Europe

Europe is made up of 44 recognized sovereign countries, including partially recognized states and territories.However, we only have specific vaping data for seventeen of them. Here, we’ll provide an overview of the vaping landscape in these European nations.

In certain European countries, specific age restrictions govern vaping. For instance, in France, the minimum age for vaping is set at 18, and nicotine content doesn’t impact this requirement. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, vapers must be at least 18 years old, although the legality of selling nicotine-free e-liquid remains unclear. Germany maintains a minimum age of 18 for vaping, and the nicotine content in the vape doesn’t affect this age limit. Italy adheres to an 18-year age minimum for vaping, and there are no restrictions on selling e-cigarettes without nicotine. In Belgium, the minimum age for vaping is 18, and it appears that e-cigarettes without nicotine may not have a minimum age requirement.

On the other hand, some European countries have implemented various degrees of restrictions or bans on vaping. For example, Russia does not classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products, but you must be 18 or older to buy them. In Slovenia, the minimum age for vaping is 18, but it remains unclear whether this requirement varies with nicotine content. In Greece, vaping is allowed for those aged 18 and above, with no age limit for nicotine-free e-cigarettes. In Spain, vaping is generally allowed for adults aged 18 and above without a distinction based on nicotine content. Likewise, Sweden maintains a minimum age of 18 for vaping, with no age limit for nicotine-free e-cigarettes.

In Bulgaria, vapers must be at least 18 years old, and there’s no minimum age for nicotine-free e-cigarettes. In Portugal, the minimum age for vaping is 18, and there’s no apparent age limit for nicotine-free e-cigarettes. In Croatia, you must be 18 or older to buy vapes, but they cannot be used anywhere smoking is prohibited. Lastly, in the Netherlands (Holland), nicotine content doesn’t affect the minimum age, which is set at 18. The Czech Republic has no apparent age limit for nicotine-free e-cigarettes, but for nicotine vapes, you must be 18.

In contrast, some European nations have yet to formalize regulations on vaping. Switzerland does not seem to have a minimum age right now, but Swiss producers of e-cigarettes have agreed not to sell to individuals under 18. A recent law will bump the minimum age to 18 years in 2024.

Vaping Age Regulations in South America

South America is composed of 12 recognized countries, each navigating vaping regulations differently. While some have established regulations, not all of them have. That said, we’ve gathered data for the four South American countries that have established rules for vaping.

In some South American countries, specific age restrictions govern vaping. For instance, in Argentina, the sale or marketing of e-cigarettes is technically illegal, but you can buy them at age 18. Similarly, in Brazil, e-cigarette sale or marketing is illegal, but you can still buy them at 18. In Paraguay, there are laws classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products, suggesting an 18-year minimum age, but these laws often do not apply in practice. While it’s not formally a part of South America, Mexico has made E-cigarettes containing nicotine illegal for those under 18, while those without nicotine seem to face no restrictions.

On the other hand, several South American nations have chosen not to formalize regulations on vaping:

  • Chile (part of South America) must be 18 or older, but there are no restrictions for purchasing vapes online.
  • Colombia (part of South America) lacks clear regulations on vaping. Must be 18 to purchase.
  • In Peru, there are very few laws, but you must be 18 to purchase.
  • In Ecuador, vaping is legal if you’re 18 or older, but there are some restrictions on advertising and how and where it’s appropriate to vape.

These diverse approaches underscore the complexity of vaping regulations in South America. It’s important for residents and visitors to stay informed about the specific rules in each country, especially considering the regional variations.

Vaping Age Regulations in Oceania

Oceania, a region defined by its vast expanse of ocean and diverse island nations, presents a range of vaping regulations. This continent consists of 14 recognized countries, with specific vaping data available for only a few.

Within Oceania, several countries have instituted age restrictions for vaping. For instance, in New Zealand, the minimum age for vaping is 18, with no apparent impact of nicotine content on this requirement. In Australia, the minimum age varies by state, typically set at 18 for nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, while non-nicotine vapes are generally allowed.

Vanuatu maintains strict laws about only selling vapes to those 18 and older, while Fiji requires people to be 18 or older and has banned the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

However, it’s important to note that some countries within Oceania lack specific vaping regulations, resulting in a largely unregulated landscape.

Navigating Vaping Age Laws Worldwide: Final Thoughts

Across the globe, there’s a common thread: in most places, you must be at least 18 or older to purchase and use vapes. However, the rules and regulations governing vaping vary significantly from country to country, sometimes even within states, regions, cities, and towns. It’s crucial to use your best judgment, especially when traveling or vaping in unfamiliar places.

Remember that even if a country has official rules, state and city laws may differ. Always do your due diligence before traveling with vapes or using them in unfamiliar territories to avoid unexpected legal issues.

While we’ve strived to compile comprehensive information, it’s important to recognize that this list is not exhaustive. Not every country has readily available data on vaping laws, and the landscape can change at any moment without notice.

We’re committed to keeping this information up to date, and we encourage you to reach out and let us know if we’ve missed a country or if there’s vital information about a specific location we may have glossed over. By sharing knowledge and staying informed, we can navigate the ever-evolving world of vaping laws more confidently and responsibly.

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Nicole Flanigan
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