There is no one set global age limit on the ability to purchase and use vape products. Generally speaking, however, most of the laws around the legal age to vape in a certain country or province coincide with already established age limit restrictions for tobacco products like cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
The most common age limits for purchasing tobacco and vape products are 18 or 19 years, Other countries have higher age limits for tobacco and vape product purchase, such as Japan where individuals must be at least 20, and many other countries are either considering or have already made moves to raise the legal age for vaping and smoking to 21 like the United States.
So if you already know the legal age for purchasing and smoking cigarettes, it’s more than likely that the same age restriction will apply to vapes. We’ve broken down the specifics for Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., with an added global snapshot of legal vaping ages in popular travel destinations.
Age Limit for Vaping in Canada
At the federal level, the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act of 2018 prohibits selling tobacco products or vaping products to any person under the age of 18 in Canada. In addition to this age limit, The Act also lays out regulations for preventing vaping companies from engaging in any marketing that might be seen to target young people. This means that vape manufacturers can be held accountable for intentionally marketing to young people just the same as a retailer could be held accountable for underage sales at their location.
While the federal limit doesn’t allow individual provinces to lower the age limit for vaping, it does leave room for them to raise the minimum age. A number of provinces have already passed legislation setting a higher age limit for vaping product sale and possession including Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick which all have a minimum age of 19. In 2020, Prince Edward Island raised the minimum age for vaping from 19 to 21 making it the highest legal age to purchase vapes in Canada. For a full list of Legal Smoking Age in the Provinces and Territories of Canada please see our FAQ page.
In addition to having the highest legal vaping age in Canada, Prince Edward Island has also banned all flavoured vape products in an attempt to further dissuade young people from becoming new vape users. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have also banned all flavours in vape products other than traditional tobacco-style flavours and there have been efforts to enact a similar flavour ban on vape products at the federal level.
Age Limit for Vaping in the United States
Age restrictions in vaping laws in the U.S. were previously similar to those in Canada with a federally set ban on the sales of cigarettes and vaping products to anyone under the age of 18 and certain states enacting their own increases to the legal vaping age.
This changed in 2019 when the Tobacco 21 amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was signed into law, increasing the federal minimum age to buy vape products, cigarettes, and any tobacco-related products to 21 years of age. Retailers found selling tobacco and vaping products to people under the age of 21 are subject to the enforcement of the amendment by the Food and Drug Administration.
As for flavours, the FDA’s requirements are more than a little complicated. Flavours other than tobacco are banned in all prefilled pods and disposable vape products, but not in bulk e-liquid refills. However, even those products need to be submitted to the FDA for approval and the manufacturer bears the responsibility of ensuring the retailers they work with to sell that product are following FDA age limit restrictions.
Age Limit for Vaping in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, regulations for vaping products were added to the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations or TRPR in 2016. In addition to a number of restrictions on the size, quality, and concentration of nicotine in vaping products, it also established a legal age limit of 18, the same age required to purchase tobacco products.
The TRPR amendment didn’t ban any flavour components of vape products but it did ban other additives like colourants and caffeine, and set guidelines for packaging such as childproofing and warning labels. Other than that, there are not any sweeping nationwide laws on vaping in the U.K.
Most of the restrictions on vaping are put in place by individual companies or establishments. For example, there is no law saying you cannot vape on trains and other public transportation, but the vast majority of rail lines and buses have their own policies that prohibit vaping while using public transportation. The same is true for restaurants and bars, nightclubs, apartment buildings, etc.
Age Limits for Vaping Around the World
The European Union put its age limit for vaping in place at the same time as the U.K. and also set 18 as the minimum. The legal age limit for vape sales in Australia is also 18, however, all vapes containing nicotine in the continental country are by prescription only as a means to cease tobacco use.
In Asia, many countries have flat-out bans with hefty fines and even jail time for violations. For more on where vapes are banned, check out our article Everything You Need to Know About Travelling with a Vape Device. China, Japan, and South Korea do have legal vape sales with the legal age for purchasing vape products in China at 18, 19 in South Korea, and 20 in Japan.
There are also a number of countries in South America that have banned vaping products such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela. However, the countries that do allow vaping generally have an age limit of 19.
In Africa and the Middle East, there are many differences in the specific laws between individual countries, states, and even cities with some places banning the use altogether. In the places where it is legal the age limit is usually 18 or close to that, but many places have ambiguous laws in place concerning the use of vaping products so it’s always best to ask or just forego vaping where you can.