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Vaping Laws

How Old Do You Need to Be to Vape

According to the Federal lwa, all fifty states have now imposed age restrictions on the purchase of e-cigarette products. Along with age limits, several states have also instituted laws regarding the use, taxation, and sales of e-cigarettes:

  • tax the sale of e-cigarettes, like with regular cigarettes: Minnesota, California, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia;
  • prohibit the indoor use of e-cigarettes or in public areas, like bars and restaurants: Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Utah, Vermont, etc.;
  • have banned e-cigarette sales through vending machines or self-service displays: New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, Iowa, etc.

How old do you have to be to buy a vape? The exact age to legally purchase vapor products varies from state to state. Data compiled by the Public Health Law Center at Northeastern University provides a clearer picture of e-cigarette laws by state.

State Age vaping laws
California 21+
in 2016 the state raised the age limit to purchase any “tobacco product”(covers both conventional cigarettes, as well as e-cigarettes) to 21.
Hawaii 21+
sales, distribution of vaping devices are forbidden for an underage person. The same with the use.
Oregon, New Jersey, and Maine 21+
have all followed suit by raising their age limits to 21.
Alabama, Alaska, and Utah 19+
anyone over the age of 19 can legally buy and possess a vaping device or accessory, like e-liquid.
the rest 42 states 18+
18 is the legal purchasing age in most other states.

The change in tobacco purchasing laws in these states has also raised the legal age of vaping, given that e-cigarettes present a particularly vexing problem for lawmakers.

Public health officials, medical experts, and legislators are all of a different mind regarding the safety of e-cigarettes and even zero nicotine e-liquids. The lack of consensus on what e-cigarettes represent — an alternative to bad habits or public health disaster — has led to the uneven adoption of vaping laws. While one side argues for the potential utility of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers, the other rails against the possibility of e-cigs addicting a new generation to nicotine.

Since chronic exposure to nicotine can have lasting effects on the brain, it stands to reason that young adults should avoid nicotine.
The gray area is whether the vaping age should only apply to nicotine-based vape juices and the aforementioned 0 nicotine ones should be allowed.

Even the imposition of age limits to buy e-cigarettes has divided many. Experts in the field have come out both for and against the age restrictions, further confounding what should (or should not) be done about e-cigarettes and what impact they have on society as a whole.

One thing is certain, if parents want their kids to not take up vaping, then parents that vape need to stop or be more discreet about it. Kids will end up taking on their parents’ habits no matter what they are.

The Problem of E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes were created for easier nicotine consumption and their use intended solely for adult smokers. But the technology has inadvertently drawn in an unexpected demographic.

According to the CDC, “e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product by American youth.”

This trend has troubled many, given the addictiveness of nicotine and its potential to affect the development of the adolescent brain adversely.

Fears about teenage nicotine addiction have crystallized around one particular vaping device, the e-cigarette known as the Juul. The Juul is a portable, hand-held e-cigarette that vaporizes flavored e-liquid contained in “pods.” For reasons as varied as its portability, attractiveness, and newness, the Juul has fast become a popular pastime among teenagers. Young people are “juuling” in school, at home, and on social media.

But, to the surprise of no one, many adolescent “juulers” are shockingly unaware of how much nicotine they are putting into their bodies. One Juul pod contains as much as 0.7 mL of liquid nicotine or the same amount as a pack of cigarettes.

Part of the issue is that young people take up vaping when they weren’t already smokers. Vaping for reasons other than a means to quit smoking can often lead people to take up cigarettes at a higher rate than people who didn’t start vaping first. This is especially true for teens.

Teenage ignorance about the health risks associated with vaping is why many parents, school officials, and medical experts feel the need to intervene. They are lobbying state legislators to either increase the legal age to buy tobacco products (like the Juul) to twenty-one or enact even more stringent vaping regulations.

Pushing Back

The imposition of these age limits is just one part of a broader pushback against e-cigarettes in general. The FDA, which up until 2016 did not even regulate vaping devices, has done their best to make up for lost time.

 

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