How old do you have to be to vape? This question might seem simple at first sight, but the answer to it will differ based on where you live. In this post, we will provide an overview of the age restrictions regarding the use and purchase of e-cigarette products in all the fifty states.
There are also some regulations that control the sales, taxation, and use of e-cigarettes in certain states. We will tell you about them as well.
How old do you have to be to buy a vape? The answer depends on a state you are in and even a city you reside in. The Public Health Law Center at Northeastern University gathered all the information regarding vaping restrictions in the US and summarized them for a good understanding.
You can find the up-to-date data for every state on their website following the link. They have an interactive map on this page, and by clicking on a given state you can find extensive information about the legal status of electronic cigarettes in it, namely:
– Whether electronic cigarettes are included in any section of the state’s statutes in the definition of “Tobacco Products”;
– How the given state defines electronic cigarettes;
– Whether there is a state excise or special tax in a given state;
– State regulations for e-cigarette packaging;
– State retail restrictions;
– Age restrictions;
– Applicable smoke-free restrictions.
You can easily find what’s the legal age to vape for every state in this post.
Legal vaping age differs from state to state. Here’s an overview of how old you must be to vape in the US based on the data from the Public Health Law Center at Northeastern University.
Alabama, Alaska, and Utah
You need to be 19+ years old to vape in Alabama, Alaska, and Utah. Starting from this age, you can legally buy and use vaping devices and their accessories.
You need to be 21+ years old to vape in California. Back in 2016, the state of California raised the age limit that currently allows purchasing any tobacco or e-cigarette products starting from the age of 21.
You need to be 21+ years old to vape in Hawaii. Sales, distribution, and use of any vaping devices to people under 21 are illegal here.
Oregon, Maine, and New Jersey
You need to be 21+ years old to vape in Oregon, Maine, and New Jersey. These states have recently raised the age restrictions from 18 to 21.
Remaining 42 States
What about the rest of the US? You need to be 18+ years old to vape within the territory of these states. Starting from the age of 18, you can legally purchase and use vaping devices and their accessories.
Some new regulation may come in force by the time you read this post. If you are under 21 years old and plan to purchase an e-cig product, we recommend you check the most recent vaping laws by state.
E-Cigarette Sales Tax
Some states tax the sale of electronic cigarettes the same way they do regular cigarettes. The list of the states that do it is as follows: California, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Prohibition of Use Indoors
Some states prohibit the use of electronic cigarette products in indoor public areas, such as restaurants and bars. The list of the states that have this regulation is as follows: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Vermont.
States that banned the sales of electronic cigarettes through self-service displays or vending machines are Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The Dilemma of E-Cigarettes
The problem with the use of e-cigarettes is that legislators, medical experts, and public health officials have different opinions about the products, regardless of the fact whether they contain nicotine or not.
There isn’t a single answer of the state whether an e-cigarette is a safer alternative to smoking or a new public health issue. Such a situation led to the adoption of different laws in different states.
While the official health and legislative bodies in some states believe that smokers can benefit from e-cigarettes, the situation on some other states is quite the opposite.
The imposition of the age limit to purchase electronic cigarettes has divided states. Experts are arguing for and against the age restrictions and the impact of such restrictions on society. The major problem with e-cigarettes is that they were originally created for smokers, but spread far beyond this target audience.
It doesn’s sound surprising now that electronic cigarettes are most frequently used by youth in the United States. This fact troubles many people since nicotine can potentially affect the development of the adolescent brain.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy a Juul?
Teenage nicotine addiction is often discussed through the prism of one particular vaping device, called the Juul. The Juul is an extremely popular handheld electronic cigarette device that is highly portable and easy to use.
The hype around this device and its competitive price made it one of the most popular devices an average teenager wants to own. You can see tons of pictures of teenagers boasting their vaping sessions on social media and spot many of them in real life as well.
Unfortunately, most of the young vapers have no idea how much nicotine they consume on a regular basis while “juuling”. The teenagers are quite often unaware of the potential health risks, and it makes parents, educational and healthcare professionals intervene.
They encourage state legislators to encourage strong vaping regulations and increase the legal smoking age. For your information, one Juul pod contains 0.7 mL of liquid nicotine, which equals to a pack of regular cigarettes.
On the Flipside
Is it illegal to vape under 18? – Definitely not in the USA.
How old do you have to be to vape without nicotine? – Once more, you have to be of a legal smoking age in your state. FDA insists that all of the electronic cigarettes should be sold under the tobacco products state regulations.
Age limits and other vaping restrictions are parts of a campaign against electronic cigarettes in general. Until 2016, FDA did not regulate any vaping devices at all. Since 2016, FDA has been trying to prevent youth from using e-cigarettes. FDA believes that minors should not use any tobacco products. Currently,
FDA has zero tolerance towards electronic cigarette sale to children. However, while legislation is not perfect yet, a lot of children and teenagers continue to consume tobacco products in all forms, regular and electronic.
There’s also a risk that with strict regulations against electronic cigarettes and the increased legal vaping age, minors might turn to regular tobacco products. It makes us wonder whether the restrictions do any good at all.
The Undiscovered Truth
There haven’t been enough long-time scientific studies of the potential harm of vaping or the absence of it. Vaping is still a new activity that is considered to be the same as smoking by many, while others believe that it is a healthier alternative for smokers.
While no underage person should consume nicotine products, raising the age limits to purchase them is hardly a panacea for underage smoking. While in most states the regulations for vaping are the same as for smoking, a better solution needs to be implemented in the future.