Federal law established in 2019 raised the minimum age to 21 for purchasing e-cigarettes and tobacco products. However, some states voted to lower the legal age for buying tobacco products to 18 years old.
The possession of electronic nicotine devices is not considered illegal in the United States. However, minors found using vaping products will likely find themselves in trouble with law enforcement.
Tobacco smoking is less popular than it use to be, yet some Americans remain addicted to nicotine.
Vaping is the modern way to smoke, and young adults across the country are getting their hands on these often flavorsome, vape products before they are of legal age to purchase them.
Unfortunately, young adults under the minimum age to purchase vaping products are less concerned with vaping regulations and more focused on the fun, delicious flavors of vapes.
If you want to be a law-abiding citizen, it’s important to understand vaping regulations, and more specifically, the age limit of purchasing an e-cigarette in your state.
In this article, we will review the legal vaping age to purchase vaping devices and how laws differ from state to state.
We will also explore the average age of Americans who vape and what vaping use means for the country’s youth.
Which States Allow the Purchase of Tobacco Products at Age 18?
While federal vaping regulations state citizens must be 21 years of age to purchase a vaping device, these 39 states voted to lower the legal age limit to 18:
Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
If you found your home state on the list, you can purchase an e-cigarette the day you reach the legal age of 18.
In Which States is 19 the Legal Age to Vape?
Age restrictions in Alabama, Alaska, and Utah set the minimum age to purchase vaping products to 19.
In Which States is the Legal Age to Vape 21?
Vaping laws in California, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Virginia, mandate people must reach the age limit of 21 to legally buy vaping devices.
Vaping Age Statistics
Vaping devices, or e-cigarettes, have become a popular way to inhale nicotine throughout the country.
Studies show that one in every twenty Americans has used vaping products and more than 14 million American adults consistently vape.
Of Americans at least 18 years old and up to age 29, 20% reportedly vape. This is an extremely high percentage compared to the 9% of those aged 30-49, and the 5% of adults over the age of 50.
You may or may not be surprised to find out the highest percentage of vapers of any demographic are teenagers who simply vape for fun or who are already addicted to nicotine.
In 2019, a troubling statistic showed 27.5% of high school students admitted to using vaping devices on a regular basis. Although laws place an age limit on tobacco sales to those who are not at least 18 years old, young people continue using vape products and often become addicted to nicotine.
No matter where you stand on nicotine use, most agree that nicotine affects health and prolonged smoking of any type can lead to higher risks of certain cancers and other serious illnesses.
Why Do Younger People Like Vaping?
The percentages of teen vaping throughout the country, and ultimately the world, are concentrated in those aged 14-29.
Since studies show 27.5% of high school students vape, while only 20% of adults aged 18-29 use vape products, it begs the question: Why do younger people like vaping and using a tobacco product so much?
There are a few clear-cut reasons why vaping has become so popular with such a young crowd:
- Vape juice, also known as e-juice, comes in a variety of flavors. While some states have outlawed flavored juices in order to deter the younger generation, they are still widely available throughout the country and online.
- Vape leaves little to no scent. Unlike cigarettes, once the vapor has evaporated only moments after taking a “drag” on the device, there is essentially no smell. This makes it much more difficult for kids to get caught by their parents, teachers, or even by law enforcement.
- These devices are becoming smaller and smaller, making them extremely easy to hide, once again, taking away the chance of getting in trouble as one might with a pack of cigarettes.
- Information has been widely spread stating how vape products are a healthier alternative to cigarettes.
Many consumers enjoy vape products, but it is essential to remember the age restriction placed on electronic cigarettes is necessary. Vapes are electronic nicotine systems, and nicotine is highly addictive.
Now that we have explored state laws for purchasing tobacco products and the minimum age requirements for different states, we can look at some of the more frequently asked questions about vaping products and the tobacco industry.
Can Those Under 18 Years Old Purchase Tobacco Products?
Non-nicotine alternatives are essentially flavorsome vapor, and kids under the age of 18 can purchase them in some states.
Is Vaping Healthier than Smoking Cigarettes?
Studies show vaping is marginally better for the body than traditional cigarettes, but it can still cause serious damage. In fact, health issues resulting from vaping include: lung and heart disease, increased blood pressure, lung injuries, and brain development issues.
Is vaping as addictive as cigarettes?
Yes, vaping is as addictive as cigarettes. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical and can be found in both vapes and tobacco products. E-cigarettes are easier to quit when using specific juices with lower nicotine levels to help ween you off the drug, but they are just as addictive.
Why do young people want to vape?
As we have learned, there are several reasons why vapes have become popular amongst America’s youth despite age limits. It’s interesting to learn what high schoolers use as their personal reasons for vaping.
A survey of New Hampshire high school vapers revealed the following reasons they tried vaping:
- 60.9%: “To see what it was like.”
- 41.7%: “Like how it tastes.”
- 37.95: “As a social activity.”
- 28.7%: “Because they’re bored.”
- 8.1%: “They have an addiction”
These statistics may surprise you if you are not, or do not have, a teenager. But the truth is, teens are extremely susceptible to peer pressure, propaganda, and what they see and hear in pop culture references.
To answer our original question, “How old do you have to be to vape,” the minimum vaping age is between 18 and 21 years old, depending on where you live and vaping laws associated with buying and using e-cigarettes.
Although age restrictions state you must be a minimum age of 21 in most states and 18 years old in a few other states, kids often figure a way around these laws and often vape early in their teens.
While we do not fully understand all the negative side effects, research shows vaping products are not a healthy way to quit smoking cigarettes and are potentially harmful to young adults.