In 2018 Public Health England found e-cigarettes to be 95% less harmful than smoking. As a result, in the UK vaping is very much seen as part of the campaign to stop people smoking cigarettes. It is therefore legal to vape and for people to buy, sell and use electronic cigarettes.
The industry as a whole however does face a host of regulation – our recent blog looks at the legal age to vape and vaping regulation in the UK.
Vaping law in the UK
Key aspects of vaping regulation in the UK include
– You must be 18 or over to purchase e-cigarettes or e-liquids in the UK
– No legal bans on vaping in public places or on public transport exist but in many cases, vaping is included in no smoking policies so it is always best to check before you do vape
– There are strict regulations relating to the production of e-liquids and e-cigarettes and the advertising of e-cigarettes and related products
How does vaping law vary by country?
Vaping laws vary significantly by country. As we noted above, in the UK we have a relatively open approach to vaping at the current time given that it is thought vaping can help people to quit smoking and the well acknowledged detrimental effects of smoking to public health.
The European Union
With regards to the EU, vaping regulation is covered by the Tobacco Products Directive which means the majority of EU countries will have similar restrictions to the UK when it comes to vaping. However, Norway and Turkey are two exceptions – Norway has a total ban on all products containing nicotine and Turkey has a ban on e-cigarettes.
United States of America
As with many things in America, laws and regulations around vaping vary by state so it is best to check these individually. For example, in some states you must be 18 to buy e -cigarettes whilst in others the minimum age is higher, set at 21.
Vaping is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America who have issued concerns over the use of e-cigarettes by young people. It is thought vaping regulation could potentially change if they continue to see a rise in the number of young people taking up vaping.
Australia and New Zealand
Vaping law varies significantly between these two countries. New Zealand has a more open approach to vaping, in a similar vein to the UK. Australia however has more complex rules with these also varying by state. In Australia sale of nicotine is not allowed except as a licensed medication. In order to buy e-cigarettes, you must be over 18 as in the UK.
Where is vaping illegal?
If you are a vaper and planning to travel abroad it is important to check the rules of the country you are visiting to ensure you do not find yourself in trouble with the local authorities.
This list is not exhaustive and vaping laws change all the time but at time of writing these are just some of the countries that have a ban on vaping in 2019:
Has some of the strictest rules around vaping which could see you face up to 10 years in prison if caught with an e-cigarette.
Strict rules came into place in February 2018 around possession of e-cigarettes, which is now a punishable offence and can see fines of up to $1,500 issued.
Vaping is banned in 6 States across India and in these States rules are strictly enforced.
Other countries where vaping is banned include:
How could vaping law change in the future?
Many counties who take a firm stance on vaping are thought to do so due to a report from the World Health Organisation which claimed e-cigarettes may not help people quit smoking.
Given that the vaping and electronic cigarette market is so new, research is ongoing into the possible public health benefits as well as the effects vaping may have on people. As this research will likely inform government policies across the world it seems prudent to expect regulation to change as and when new information becomes available.
Concerns in the USA in particular around the uptake of vaping in young people could also have an impact on the way that regulation is implemented.
A recent Public Health England evidence update showed uptake of vaping amongst young people in the UK was still at a low level, and that the key reason people vape is to quit smoking. So it is likely that this will continue to inform the regulatory and legal stance with regards to vaping in the UK.
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