Is it Illegal for Someone Under 18 to Vape?
With vaping laws still in their infancy, naturally many vapers are curious about under 18 vaping. While vaporizers, e-juice, and other related products are federally banned from being sold to or bought by a minor, the laws surrounding vaping can vary state to state. Some states have raised the age to 21. Some allow public vaping, while others do not. Most states recognize vaporizers as a tobacco related product, like cigarettes, even if no tobacco or nicotine is used with the product. However, not all have the explicit language connecting vaporizers to cigarettes in their laws. While lawmakers sort out the definitions of vaporizer related terms, consumers are left wondering who can use vaporizers and who cannot.
Some states have allowed the use of a vaporizer or e-cigarette by a minor in the presence of a parent or legal guardian, but most have not. States with 21-year-old age limits may make exceptions for Native American rituals or members of the military. Always check your local laws before using a device, especially if you’re under the age of 21.
All states have explicit language prohibiting the sale or distribution of these products to minors. Even if a state doesn’t include language prohibiting minors from actually using vaporizers, it is always illegal for friends or retail locations to supply minors with the products. These lawbreakers can face stiff penalties, including fines and citations. Businesses can even lose their licenses. Other states include penalties for those caught vaping underage. Check your local laws to understand the related penalties. Depending on what level of government enacted the laws to begin with, either state or local police officers are tasked with the enforcement of these laws.
While the law may be vague, and varies from place to place, a minor must ask themselves why they want to vape in the first place. Do they view it as a right of passage, or are they trying to be cool in front of their friends? Vapers have historically tried to distance themselves from the tobacco industry by promoting vaporizers as a safer alternative to cigarettes. One of their claims is that vaping can help people quit their dangerous cigarette habit. Teenagers treating vaporizers as new-age cigarettes, with all of the same temptations and peer pressure that go with them, is actually threatening the future of the vaping industry.
The FDA has already grouped vaporizers into the same category as tobacco related products, and underage teenagers constantly ignoring the laws in place don’t help the cause. Social opinion on vaporizers is still fairly negative because they are associated with all of the damaging attributes of cigarettes, even if it’s untrue. If vaporizers are to be granted the respect they deserve, vapers must be able to prove that their devices are different from cigarettes and help end rather than help start a nicotine addiction. Teens should think twice about picking up a vaporizer, not just for their own safety, but for the guarantee that vaporizers will continue to be a viable option for many who already rely on them as smoking cessation tools.