Yes, I know vaping looks fun.
And the variety of flavors does look very appealing.
However, not everyone can enjoy vaping.
Not because it is too expensive or deadly harmful, but because you simply may be too young.
Today, my friend, I am going to answer the question “How old do you have to be to vape?” Let’s find out how old you should be to become a vaping enthusiast.
Vaping Explained. Everything You Need to Know
First things first, let’s start with the basics. Before figuring out the proper vaping age, you need to get a full, clear understanding of what vaping really is.
No wonder you are curious about this “smoking” method. Vaping becomes more and more popular every day, even though there’s not so much hype around it now. You see, in 2014, it turned into a real mainstream trend. A lot of people started vaping because it was popular and because they wanted to keep up with the trend. These days, however, people turn to vaping because they want either to quit smoking or enjoy thick clouds, interesting flavors, and simply get some vaping experience as a whole.
Now, vaping is a process of inhaling and exhaling the vapor, which is produced by a vaporizer. A vaporizer features a heating element, which allows the e-liquid to get hot and, well, vaporize. Of course, there are vaporizers suitable for dried herbs and concentrated oil waxes, but the e-liquid ones are the most popular, so we will focus on them.
The basic construction of a vaporizer includes a battery, a heating element, and an e-juice tank. The battery powers the device and activates the heating element (usually, a titanium coil), which heats up the juice and turns it into vapor.
The e-juice that is the most prevalently used in electronic cigarettes has a rather simple composition. It contains vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, flavorings, and might or might not contain nicotine depending on its type.
Here’s the fun part:
E-liquids come in hundreds, even thousands of flavors. There are different combinations and pure, isolated kinds of flavors, which means every vaper can find the suitable one for themselves. There are also e-liquids that have no flavor or taste like tobacco, for people who want to switch from regular cigarettes or simply like the tobacco scent.
You are probably wondering what vaping feels like. Well, many users describe the inhales as kind of wet and a bit heavy, especially when compared to regular cigarettes. Many vapers also claim that this “smoking” method is light on the lungs, which makes it possible for some people to vape all day long without feeling any discomfort.
Types of Vaping Devices
If you keep asking “How old do you have to be to vape?”, you should also ask yourself “What do I want to vape on?” To be honest with you, the number of vape devices can be really overwhelming. However, the most basic classification includes only three common types:
- electronic cigarettes (also knows as cig-a-likes);
- pen mods;
- and box mods.
Now, e-cigs are simple and easy to use. Oftentimes, they look like regular cigarettes. They are also disposable and each can last you for around a week, therefore manufacturers make them rather affordable.
As for pen mods, they are a bit more complex. They feature a battery, a coil (or two), and an atomizer with an e-juice tank. Pen mods are refillable and can last you for around a year (if you use and maintain them properly). They come in countless designs. Some are bigger, some are smaller, but they are always shaped like a pen, a tube, or a stick.
Now, here’s when it gets more interesting.
Box mods are more powerful and complex than the two previously mentioned vaping devices. Box mods oftentimes come with external batteries and can be used with numerous types of atomizers, which allows for many customization and personalization options. A lot of box mods feature temperature control options and variable wattage modes. This allows for a better performance and, again, helps users customize their experience and adjust it to their personal preferences. As you’ve probably guessed, box mods usually come in a shape of a box, with an atomizer on top. They vary in size and price and come in many designs, from minimalistic to futuristic.
Another important point to keep in mind is the fact that vape mods can be regulated and unregulated (mechanical). If you are not an experienced user (and I suspect you may be a newbie since you want to find out the proper vaping age), it is better for you to stay away from mechanical mods for now. They require users to have specific knowledge and a set of skills, which are obtained through practice and research. For beginners, it is better to stick to the regulated models, just to be on the safe side.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Vape?
To be honest with you, there is no single answer to this question. You see, different states treat vaping differently. Some prohibit selling vape devices to people under 21, others don’t allow anyone under 18 to vape. So, the minimum age is 18, as you can see. However, some states are a bit stricter. Let’s look closer at them:
- You need to be 18 to vape in Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois (but 21 in Chicago), Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts (but 21 in Boston), Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri (but 21 in Kansas City), Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York (but 21 in New York City), North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio (but 21 in Cleveland), Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- You must be 19 to vape in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, and Utah.
- You have to be 21 to vape in California, Colorado (although for military personnel it is 18), and Hawaii.
These legal purchase age restrictions can help you answer the question “How old do you have to be to buy a vape?”. They will also require a salesperson at the store to ask for your ID when you decide to buy your vaping device.
Keep in mind that almost all of the states involve a complete indoor vaping ban in numerous cities and towns. Vaping outside or in public places also can be restricted, but the rules will depend on each separate state. Let me give you a couple of examples:
- In Arkansas, vaping isn’t allowed in schools, childcare facilities, healthcare buildings, and state park buildings.
- In California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, and few more states, e-cigs are not allowed to be used in the same way regular cigarettes are prohibited in public.
- In Iowa, vaping isn’t allowed near the state-operated buildings.
- In Oregon, you are not allowed to vape even in your own vehicle if there’s a passenger who is under age 18.
Now, after we’ve answered the question “How old do you have to be to buy a vape?”, you may be thinking that there are some loopholes. Which brings us to…
How Old Do You Have to Be to Vape Without Nicotine?
Yes, nicotine-free e-liquids and vaping devices containing them are supposed to have fewer restrictions. They are just supposed to, but they don’t.
Hate to disappoint you, but if you are wondering, “How old do you have to be to vape without nicotine?”, don’t expect good news. The rules are the same as with vaping with nicotine. The thing is, the US Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act doesn’t recognize the difference between nicotine and nicotine-free e-juices and treats all vapes equally. If a nicotine-free e-liquid is being used with a device that is also suitable for the nicotine-containing substances, the e-liquid is automatically considered a nicotine product and falls under all of the previously mentioned restrictions.
But, to be completely honest with you, not all salespersons ask for an ID when selling vaping devices. You see, the number of vape shops keeps growing, the competition grows as well, and all those shops (big or small) want to make as many quick sales as possible. Therefore, numerous staff members don’t even care about how old you are when you come in to buy a vaping device.
This doesn’t mean that you need to rush out of your house with $50 in your hand to buy a vape kit. After all, are you sure that vaping is safe for you?
So, Is Vaping Really Safe?
People keep debating (non-stop) about the safety of vaping. But the thing is:
We haven’t studied vaping enough to be certain about how dangerous or harmless it is.
Science takes time, and vaping has been around for not long enough, so its effects can’t be studied thoroughly and in the long-run.
However, there are some things we already know. For instance, we know that vaping is around 95% safer than regular smoking. E-juices don’t contain as many dangerous chemicals as cigarettes do (I mean, there are literally thousands of chemicals in ordinary cigarettes). The most dangerous component of an e-juice is probably the flavoring, which can be artificial and not so good for our health. Also, if the e-juice is containing nicotine, you should always keep in mind that this substance is extremely addictive and not good at all for your health.
The main side effects of vaping may also include:
- dehydration (dry skin, mouth, eyes, sore and scratchy throat);
- occasional nosebleeds;
- racing heart;
- occasional dizziness;
- sometimes, impaired wound healing.
You see now that vaping isn’t always that fun. Keep in mind that the level of damage it might cause depends not only on the e-liquid components but also on the temperatures at which you vape. The higher the temperature is, the more toxins the e-juice releases and transports straight into your body.