Due to its use to quit smoking and its popularity among the youth, vaping has grown rapidly over the last decade giving competition to cigarettes. The increased popularity has also attracted a large number of teenagers. This has led to the need for legislation and regulation of vaping by concerned authorities. Governments have regulated the sales and use of e-cigarettes to keep adolescents away from vapor products.
Although enforcement of minimum legal age for vaping is not a perfect solution still it is the most reliable one. It is a difficult job for the concerned authorities to make laws about the minimum legal age for vaping, for buying and selling e-cigarettes, and to enforce penalties for retailers at a vape shop who break the law. A wrong step by lawmakers in legislation can lead to increased smoking in youth or adults.
Different countries of the world have dealt with this issue through different regulations. Most have used the same legislations as any tobacco product. Some have regulated it as a standalone consumer product. Some have not regulated at all while others have banned the vapor products. In countries that have regulated e-cigarettes, the legal age for buying them from a vape shop is 18 i.e., the age of adulthood. The USA has the largest vaping market in the world and the legal age of vaping in the USA is 21.
Legal age for Buying in the United States
Congress passed a federal Tobacco 21 law in December 2019 after facing continuous pressure from tobacco control groups and concerned parents of teens. Then-president Donald Trump signed a federal appropriations bill that covered cigarettes and tobacco products. The bill states that it “shall be unlawful for any retailer to sell a tobacco product to any person younger than 21 years of age.” This bill made it mandatory for each state to enforce the legal age limit on its people.
According to this law, no penalties will be given to teenagers under 21 who are involved in buying, use, or possession of vapor products but retailers at vape shops involved in selling to underage will be given penalties. Certain groups like on-duty military members that are exempted from many state laws will not be given exemption in this law.
The Legal age in Different Countries
Most of the countries have set a legal adult age for buying and using vapor products while others have banned vaping and hence have no other regulation for it.
Some countries like Canada and Australia have given complete liberty to their states to set the legal age for buying and selling vapor products. At the same time, those countries also have their national legal age. Different states in Canada have set a legal age limit as 19 while the national minimum age is 18. Except for cigarettes, nicotine-containing products are illegal in Australia except when the doctor prescribes them. Non-nicotine vapes are legal and the legal age for their purchase is different in different states.
Following is the list of different countries that allow vaping at different ages:
|Age 18||Age 19||Age 20||Age 21|
|Canada||United States of America|
Declaration of the Age of Beginning of Adulthood
The age of adulthood is different for every person and no one knows the exact age at which adulthood starts. But for issues like voting, entering contracts, applying for a job, serving in the military and buying tobacco-containing products, and other things that are inappropriate for children, legislators have to decide a legal age of majority.
For solving this issue, the age at which most people get more adult traits than adolescent traits is chosen as legal age by legislators. This is a very important task for legislators as the adults are to be given legal liberty to make choices that involve risk. The role of Tobacco 21 in the regulation of vapor products is debatable because it feels to be an extreme measure taking away the choice of vaping from young adults who are allowed to buy a house, get married, etc.