What’s the Legal Vaping Age?
What’s the Legal Vaping Age?
The first thing you'll notice upon arrival at breazy.com (or any other reputable online vape site) is a pop-up asking you to confirm your age as 21 or over. While the extra step may seem like an inconvenience, it’s just one of many safeguards we put in place to combat underage vaping and comply with government regulations.
In this article, we’ll focus on age restriction laws that govern vaping, and how we work to ensure our products stay out of the hands of minors.
Because the vaping industry only first began to emerge around 2008, vaping regulations are relatively new, and laws that address age verification are even newer. With no national standards yet in place, cities and states back then began introducing their own patchwork of vape laws, often taking the path of least resistance by simply defining vape products as tobacco equivalents and therefore subject to the same restrictions as combustible cigarettes.
The question about nationwide regulation was partially resolved in 2016 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented “Deeming Regulations.” That’s when it finally began formally exercising its authority over vaping. On August 8, 2016, the rules took effect, which largely mirrored was already happening at the local and state levels: classifying vaping products as tobacco products.
One thing the FDA did was establish age restrictions, prohibiting the sale of vapor products to individuals under age 18. Some states, however, have moved in recent years to raise the tobacco (and vaping) minimum age from 18 to 21. To comply with state laws, most e-commerce sites (including Breazy) require all consumers be age 21 to enter the site and then require the purchaser to be of legal age to purchase vapor products.
Here's a full list of rules that vaping retailers such as Breazy have to follow as a result of the FDA's authority. These regulations apply to retailers both online and in vape shops, and include the following provisions, among others:
1. Check photo ID of everyone under age 27 who attempts to purchase e-cigarettes (or everyone making a purchase online).
- Only sell e-cigarettes to customers age 18 and older (21 in some states).
- Do NOT sell e-cigarettes in vending machines unless in an adult-only facility.
- Do NOT give away free samples of e-cigarettes to consumers, including any of their components or parts.
Do NOT sell or distribute e-cigarettes without a health warning statement on the package.
6. Do NOT display advertisements for e-cigarettes without a health warning statement.
A law that’s often cited in discussions of age verification is the 2010 PACT Act. While the bulk of this law was written to prevent online cigarette sales, it provides a set of guidelines useful for vaping e-commerce. The act tasks online sellers with “Obtaining the full name, birth date, and residential address of [the customer]; and verifying that information using a commercially available database or aggregate of databases regularly used by government and businesses for age and identity verification and authentication.”
Remember that age verification pop-up we mentioned above? Ours begins with the phrase "I am 21+ years old..." which would be sufficient if no one ever lied about their age, but they do. So it’s the "...and agree to be age verified" part that carries the weight.
Reputable vape e-tailers have been using third-party age verification software since at least 2016. Here at Breazy, we contract with Veratad, an identity-verification specialist that cross-checks a customer's name, address, and birthdate against literally billions of online data points. Not only does this help prevent underage sales, it also helps minimize fraud and identity theft, offering our customers another layer of protection.
Third-party verification is one component of our comprehensive adult use policy that includes prominent placement of warning labels on all packaging and promotional materials. We also formed an in-house age verification team within our customer service department to investigate any questionable purchases, field complaints and ensure compliance with local laws.
Keeping vapor products out of the hands of minors is a grave responsibility, and it's one the industry as a whole needs to take seriously, not to just to protect young people who are not entitled to make the choice to vape, but also to fend off regulatory threats that could otherwise stymie the ability of adults to choose vaping.
It's a task we don't take lightly, and as technology and the legal landscape continue to evolve, rest assured we'll keep working to maintain industry-leading levels of protection.