Vaping is a popular way of consuming nicotine and other substances, but it's still relatively new. Unfortunately, that means there are still some questions about how old you must be before you can vape.
In the United Kingdom, the minimum age for buying e-cigarettes is 18. However, there have been reports of children younger than 18 years of age using vapes. The law states that it is an offence for any person to sell or supplying e-cigarettes to someone under 18 years of age.
So, as a minor, the only thing that can restrict your access is if you don't have an ID card or passport that shows you are over 18 years old. This means that if you look under 25 years old when you try to buy a vape device in the UK, there will be no way for the shop owner or employee to know whether you are over 18 years old or not. If this happens at a vape shop, then they will probably ask for proof of age before selling any vape to you.
Why Shouldn't Kids Vape?
Vaping has become a popular trend among teens and young adults, but the health risks associated with vaping are still unclear. The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) recently released a report that claims e-cigarette smokers are exposed to toxicants at levels similar to or higher than traditional tobacco smokers.
The RCP's report, published in December 2018, states that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes because they don't contain tobacco. But according to the BBC, the report also says that vaping is associated with an increased danger from its health effects.
So, as much there's still a debate about whether vaping is safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes, but what about the risks in kids?
You don't know what's in them
Young people may be particularly vulnerable to the negative health effects of vaping as their bodies are still developing and their lungs are not yet fully developed. So if you don't want your child or teenager to smoke tobacco cigarettes, you should also be concerned about them using e-cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes contain chemicals that could harm your child's health if they inhale their second-hand vapour (vapour released into the air) or swallow some of the e-liquid that contains nicotine and other chemicals.
Vaping is addictive
The most common reason why many people vape is that they like it, and it makes them feel relaxed. But vaping can also be addictive. The substances in the vapes are addictive, which means that if you vape, you may find yourself wanting to vape more and more. This could lead to health problems or even death.
In addition to this, no evidence vaping helps you quit smoking or helps you stay smoke-free after you've quit. In fact, research has shown that many people who use e-cigarettes go on to start smoking again afterwards. And so far, there isn't enough data about the long-term effects of vaping on health - but we do know that nicotine is addictive, so if you get hooked on it when you're young, it could cause problems later in life.
Kids are likely to use them Wrongly
There's nothing wrong with vapes themselves; they're safer than regular cigarettes and can help smokers quit. But the problem is that kids are using them as an alternative to smoking cigarettes — which is not what they're meant for — and that's dangerous.
Some people think that e-cigarettes are safe for teens to use because they don't contain nicotine (but some do!). But even if they didn't, there would still be cause for concern. The fact is that e-cigarettes still contain addictive substances like propylene glycol (a solvent) and vegetable glycerine (a sweetener), which can have harmful effects on the body when inhaled over time. And while these ingredients may be less harmful than tobacco smoke when they're used in moderation, overuse of any substance can cause harm — especially when it comes to young brains!
How Can You Tell Your Kid is Vaping?
Vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, and most parents don't know how to tell if their kid is vaping. However, it's important to identify the signs because vaping is dangerous and can lead to nicotine addiction.
If your child is vaping, here are some ways that you can tell:
- First, they have a strong smell on their breath or clothes. The liquid nicotine has a distinct chemical smell that's difficult to mask, even with cologne or perfume (which might make sense if your child always smells like cologne).
- They're moody all the time or have trouble sleeping at night because of their nicotine addiction from vaping too much during the day. Kids who vape regularly may also get headaches and can seem high all the time, even though they aren't smoking weed.
- If your child has started acting differently lately — staying up later than usual, avoiding family activities, being more secretive — they may be using vapes during the night after everyone else has gone to bed.
What Action Do You Take When Your Kid Vapes?
The answer depends in part on where you live. The study found that in the UK, 11% of 14–15-year-olds had tried e-cigarettes, compared with 7% in France, 4% in Spain and just 1% in Italy.
So, with an estimated one million vapers in the UK, it's not surprising that many parents are worried about their children using these devices. You should, therefore, not get shocked, as it has probably not started with your kids.
The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to help you stop your child from vaping. You can talk to them directly about the dangers of vaping and show them how harmful nicotine can be. It's also worth looking at what they're doing online, as this can sometimes be a useful indicator of whether they're vaping or not.
If, they have indeed been vaping but are willing to put down the vape pen and try other methods for quitting smoking, such as patches or gum, then this can be a good first step towards quitting altogether. However, if they have already become addicted to nicotine or other substances in the e-liquid, then they may need professional help from an addiction specialist.
As much as vapes can be of help to save previous smokers from the dangers of tobacco. The ingredients in these vapes are not meant for young, growing brains. Therefore, you need to be keen on what your kids and juniors learn from their peers, both from school and the net.