No Vapes For Kids: How The UK Government Is Fighting Underage Vaping

Vapes are everywhere. It's not uncommon to see a disposable vape in the hands of an adult who was struggling with quitting cigarettes. But in recent years, convenient vape pods such as Elf Bars have fallen into the hands of school children. 

The UK government has recognized this issue and has taken significant steps to combat underage vaping. By implementing strict regulations and educational campaigns, they aim to protect young people from the potential dangers associated with vaping, such as stunt in brain development during early years. In this blog, Vapor Shop Direct will explore the measures the UK government has taken to address underage vaping and discuss their effectiveness.


The Legal Framework: Age Restrictions and Advertising Bans

To curb underage vaping, the UK government has established a robust legal framework. In 2015, the government passed legislation that made it illegal to sell e-cigarettes and vaping products to individuals under the age of 18. Retailers are required to verify the age of their customers through rigorous age verification processes, both online and in physical stores. This legal restriction acts as a deterrent for young people trying to obtain vaping products.

Furthermore, the government has imposed strict advertising bans to limit the exposure of vaping products to young audiences. This includes restrictions on television, radio, and online advertising, preventing companies from targeting their products at underage individuals. These measures aim to create an environment where young people are less likely to be influenced or tempted to try vaping. However, there are a number of loopholes that allowed children to get their hands on disposable vapes.


Increased Education and Dedicated School Police Liaison Officers to Keep Illegal Vapes Out of Schools

The UK government is taking decisive action to address the rising issue of underage vaping. Recent statistics from the NHS revealed that 9% of 11 to 15-year-olds used e-cigarettes in 2021, compared to 6% in 2018. To combat this trend, the government is implementing various measures, including increased education and the deployment of dedicated school police liaison officers.

Recognizing the importance of keeping illegal vapes out of schools, the government is investing in education programs aimed at raising awareness among young people about the risks of vaping. Lessons on the health risks associated with vaping will be included in Relationships, Sex, and Health Education (RSHE) curricula. By integrating this information into school lessons, the government aims to discourage children from taking up vaping.

In addition, dedicated school police liaison officers will play a vital role in preventing the entry of illegal vapes into educational institutions. These officers will receive new resources and support to effectively enforce the regulations surrounding vaping. By working closely with schools and students, they will help create an environment where vaping is not tolerated among underage individuals.


In the words of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: "I am deeply concerned about the sharp rise in kids vaping and shocked by reports of illicit vapes containing lead getting into the hands of school children. Our new illicit vape enforcement squad - backed by £3 million - is on the case, but clearly there is more to do."


Rules around Sale of Nicotine-Free Vapes and Fines for Shops Selling Illicit Vapes to be Reviewed

To keep up with the evolving landscape of vaping, the UK government has announced a review of the rules around the sale of nicotine-free vapes to individuals under 18. This review aims to ensure that regulations remain effective in addressing the way vaping products are being used. By assessing the current rules and making necessary adjustments, the government aims to further protect young people from the potential harms of vaping.

Furthermore, the government is addressing the issue of shops selling illicit vapes to underage customers. A review of the rules around issuing fines to such shops is underway to allow local Trading Standards to issue on-the-spot fines and fixed penalty notices more easily. This streamlined process will complement existing procedures and cover both illegal and underage sales of vapes and tobacco. Any identified gaps in the system will be promptly addressed.


Closing the Loophole on Free Samples to Children

The UK government is determined to close a significant loophole in the vaping industry that allows companies to distribute free samples of vaping products to children. This practice is completely unacceptable, and the government aims to put an end to it. By closing this loophole, businesses will be prevented from unlawfully targeting children with vaping products.

The government's commitment to tackling this issue was emphasized by the Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer during their visit to Kent Scientific Services, where e-cigarettes are analyzed for their content to ensure compliance with government regulations. Manufacturers are required to notify the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) before placing vape products on the market, including disposables. The MHRA has also taken steps to improve its notification processes and crack down on non-compliant vapes.

Other Laws In Place To Prevent Children From Getting Their Hands On Vapes

Comprehensive Public Health Campaigns

In addition to legal measures, the UK government has launched comprehensive public health campaigns to educate young people about the risks associated with vaping. These campaigns emphasize the potential harm to health and highlight the fact that e-cigarettes are not entirely risk-free. The government has worked closely with health organizations, schools, and youth groups to disseminate accurate information and raise awareness about the dangers of vaping.

Through these campaigns, young people are educated about the addictive nature of nicotine, the potential respiratory and cardiovascular effects, and the risks of using counterfeit or substandard vaping products. By providing factual information, the government aims to empower young people to make informed decisions and resist peer pressure to start vaping.


Stiffer Penalties for Retailers

Recognizing the role of retailers in preventing underage vaping, the UK government has increased the penalties for those who sell vaping products to individuals under the age of 18. Retailers found in violation of the law can face significant fines or even imprisonment. By imposing stricter penalties, the government hopes to discourage retailers from selling to underage customers and ensure they take their responsibility seriously.

Moreover, the government has also introduced programs to support retailers in complying with the law. This includes providing training and resources to help retailers implement effective age verification processes and educating them about the importance of responsible sales practices. By working collaboratively with retailers, the government aims to create a culture of compliance and responsibility within the vaping industry.


Monitoring and Research

To stay ahead of the evolving trends and understand the effectiveness of their measures, the UK government invests in ongoing monitoring and research. Regular surveys are conducted to assess the prevalence of vaping among young people, enabling policymakers to track changes in vaping rates and adapt their strategies accordingly. This data-driven approach helps the government make informed decisions and target their efforts where they are needed most.


Why Buying Disposable Vapes Is Safer Than Smoking

Disposable vapes such as Elf Bars and Crystal vapes are safer than cigarettes due to several factors. Firstly, disposable vapes do not produce tar, which is a harmful substance found in traditional cigarettes that can lead to lung damage and various respiratory illnesses.

Additionally, disposable vapes eliminate the combustion process, which means they do not generate the toxic smoke associated with burning tobacco. This reduces the exposure to harmful chemicals and carcinogens typically found in cigarette smoke.

Furthermore, disposable vapes offer more control over nicotine levels, allowing users to gradually reduce their nicotine intake or choose nicotine-free options, providing a potential pathway to quitting nicotine altogether. While no form of nicotine consumption is entirely risk-free, disposable vapes provide a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes and can be a useful tool for smokers looking to transition away from combustible tobacco.



The UK government's comprehensive approach to combating underage vaping demonstrates its commitment to protecting young people from the potential risks associated with vaping. Through increased education, dedicated school police liaison officers, and a review of existing rules, the government aims to prevent the sale of vaping products to underage individuals, close loopholes, and enforce strict regulations. 

If you are looking for a trusted vape shop to buy your favourite vape products, Vapor Shop Direct is your one-stop shop. Browse through our online store and place your order before 2 pm to receive your items on the same day!