Recent changes to the law have left plenty of people wondering how old you have to be to vape. While vaping should only be enjoyed responsibly by adults, for years, different states had a patchwork of laws that could vary as you crossed from one to another. Bowing to pressure from the anti-vaping lobby, the Tobacco 21 law passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in December of 2020 sought to create a minimum age to address teen vaping.
The Teen Vaping Crisis
While you may be concerned about how old you have to be to vape, teens have always been adventurous and willing to make poor decisions to experiment or feel like adults. With vaping, that became a growing crisis centered around Juuling, named for the popular cartridge-based vaping system. Despite the myriad of state and local laws, proponents felt that additional federal guidance would help alleviate the growing public health concern.
The Tobacco 21 law didn’t actually address the question of “How old do you have to be to vape?” Rather it used the commerce clause to address the age at which retailers could sell tobacco by adding a line to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that stipulated it was unlawful for any retailer to sell tobacco products to anyone under 21 years of age. Since vapes and juice are considered tobacco products, even if they don’t have compounds derived from tobacco in them, this effectively sets the age of retail purchase at 21 coast to coast.
To encourage compliance from state regulatory authorities, the availability of funds for substance abuse prevention was tied to enforcement. Meanwhile, an FDA rule placed an onus on manufacturers to ensure their products were not being sold or marketed to underage customers. For most practical purposes, this FDA ruling on vaping sets how old you do have to be to vape at 21 years of age in the eyes of retailers, manufacturers, and regulators, but what about the law?
Vaping Age For Citizens
One thing the law did not do was set a minimum age to actually use vaping products. There’s no penalty set by the federal law for those under 21 found vaping. It focuses solely on commercial behavior. That does not mean, however, that a minimum age doesn’t exist.
Many states and communities already have laws on the books addressing how old you do have to be to vape. They generally range from 18 to 21 years of age, although you may have a hard time getting vape supplies if you’re in a state with a lower age limit because no retailer can sell them to you. This disparity is also likely to be short-lived. Anxious to protect their federal funding and appease the anti-vaping lobby, an increasing number of states and cities are passing their own laws to set a higher minimum age for all tobacco products, disposable e-cigs and vaping supplies included.
High-Quality Supplies, Affordable Cost
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