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Guidance and Information


Young people and vaping

Vapes, or e-cigarettes, are devices that enable users to inhale nicotine in vapour, generated by heating a liquid (e-liquid), rather than smoke. In the UK it is illegal to sell vapes to under 18s. Young people who have never smoked should also be discouraged from vaping.

That’s why there’s a minimum age of sale for vaping products in the UK. It is illegal to sell nicotine vaping products to anyone under 18 or for adults to buy them on behalf of under-18s.

Helping smokers to quit is one of the best things we can do for their health. Using vapes (e-cigarettes) is a quitting tool many addicted smokers find effective, and given the multiple and immense health risks of smoking it is much safer to vape than to smoke. The healthiest option is not to smoke or vape. So, if you are vaping to quit smoking, you should aim to eventually stop vaping too.

Vaping is however not risk-free. We do not know the long-term effects of many vape ingredients and companies deliberately inducing nicotine addiction in others to maximise profits is not in the interests of the person being addicted. Non-smokers should therefore be encouraged not to start vaping, and in particular not to use vapes containing ingredients such as nicotine, the main aim of which is to addict them.


• Over the past decade, child (aged under 18) use of vapes has been consistently low. However, a recent NHS Digital survey showed a doubling of regular vape use for 11 to 15 year olds to 4% in 2021 compared to 2% in 2018.
• There are regulations in place to prevent children from vaping. The law protects children from vapes through restricting sales to over 18s only, limiting nicotine content, refill bottle and tank sizes, labelling requirements and through advertising restrictions.
• Adverts for e-cigarettes and their components are prohibited from featuring anything likely to be of particular appeal to people under the age of 18, such as characters or celebrities would be familiar with.
• The Government expects industry to comply with UK vaping regulations. Local enforcement agencies are responsible for ensuring that vapes comply with The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 in the UK. 
• There will be £3m provided over two years to fund a new “flying squad” to tackle illegal and underage vape sales. This national programme function will help share knowledge and intelligence across the country, undertake test purchasing and testing of products, and disrupt illicit supply – including on organised crime gangs. 
• In October 2022, new content was published on the potential risks of vaping for young people on the FRANK and Better Health websites and have provided input to educational resources produced by partners including the PSHE Association. 

Vapes and E-Cigarettes


Click here to read the latest information on vapes from 'Talk to Frank'

Click here to read about the risks of taking cannabis edibles. 


Department of Helath - Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping

The Prime Minister has set out plans to build a better and brighter future for our children. This includes the introduction of a new law to stop children who turn 14 this year or younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes and a further crackdown on youth vaping.

Key measures have been announced by the Department of Health on how this will be achieved.  

The full publication can be found here


How the drug works varies from person to person

How you might feel
Dizzy, headache, nauseous or mildly stimulated, relaxed.
Read more about how it feels
Effects on your body
Increased blood pressure and heart rate, faster breathing.
Read more about how it feels
How long it takes to work
Effects peak 5 - 10 minutes after your first puff.
Read more about how long it takes to work
How long the effects last
The effects last two to three hours after your last puff.
Read more about how long the effects last
Common risks
Nicotine makes the heart beat much faster. This can make you feel nauseous/sick the first time you use it. Nicotine is addictive and can be hard to stop using once you’ve started. Vaping is a lot less harmful than smoking but it doesn’t mean it’s harmless.
Read more about the risks


Trading Standards

Trading Standards can respond to reports regarding the sale of illegal vapes and under-age sales in a number of ways, ranging from disrupting sales by seizure of illegal product to prosecution of sellers where they continue despite advice and warnings from our officers.

Information about shops selling to young people, or generally selling illegal vapes, can be submitted to Trading Standards art

Be assured Trading Standards will never reveal the source of any report without permission.