US vs UK Vaping Laws and Regulations – What’s the Difference?

Aug 4, 2023

As vaping is still a relatively new industry consumers are split on what they believe to be the right course of action for US and UK laws surrounding vaping devices. In this article we aim to clarify US v UK vaping regulations, highlighting the differences between the US and UK vaping laws.

How do the US Regulate Vaping and E-Cigs?

As with many industries within the US, vaping regulations are established on a state-by-state basis instead of at a federal level. This means that each state can create its vaping laws; in some states, the vaping laws are relatively similar to each other whereas in others there is a complete difference in how vaping is defined and regulated.

In California, vaping is legally treated as a tobacco product due to the inclusion of nicotine within e-liquids which means that US vapers have to purchase their products from a store with a cigarette permit or they run the risk of being fined. This applies to any US state that has not specifically made vaping laws. States such as North Carolina and Maine have instead defined vaping as a product alternative to traditional tobacco products, allowing US vapers to purchase their vaping devices and e-liquids from non-tobacco retailers. How do the UK Regulate Vaping and E-Cigs?

How Does the UK Regulate Vaping and E-Cigs?

The UK vaping laws are much more lenient than those in the US, with vaping devices and e-liquids being available to purchase from most retailers. The only regulation that applies is that vaping products must not be sold to anyone under the age of 18 and they cannot be sold in a vending machine. UK Vapers are restricted to 10ml bottles of e-liquid if vaping devices are purchased from non-tobacco retailers whereas US vapers can buy much larger volumes. E-liquid with a nicotine strength of more than 20mg/ml is also prohibited in the UK, whereas US vapers can purchase up to 60mg/ml.

Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) - What is it?

The Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) is a piece of European Union legislation that was introduced in May 2016 to regulate the sale and manufacture of tobacco products. The TPD applies to all 28 members of the EU, meaning that each country must implement the same regulations.

One of the key aspects of the TPD is that it requires all e-cigarettes and e-liquids to undergo a safety assessment before they can be sold, with a particular focus on child safety. This means that any e-liquid or vaping device that is sold in the EU must meet certain requirements, such as being tamper-proof and not containing more than 20mg/ml of nicotine.

The TPD also regulates the amount of nicotine that can be present in e-liquid, with a maximum of 2% (20mg/ml) being the limit. E-liquids that exceed this limit are not allowed to be sold in the EU.

Quality Checks

Quality checks are an important part of US and UK vaping regulations, with US e-liquids and vaping devices both subject to more stringent quality checks than those in the UK.

Both US and UK vaping laws require manufacturers of vaping devices to conduct their tests on the safety and quality of their products before they can be sold. US laws are stricter in that US vaping devices are required to pass through an additional round of safety checks conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be sold.

Although US vaping devices are subject to more quality checks than UK products, US e-liquids are also subjected to stringent quality control measures enforced by the Department of Agriculture. The US FDA even has the authority to request access to records from US e-liquid manufacturers to ensure that they are complying with safety regulations.

Nicotine Strength

The regulations between nic strength US and UK vaping laws is a key difference between US and UK vaping.

In the US, US vapers can purchase e-liquids containing up to 60mg/ml of nicotine whereas UK vapers are limited to 20mg/ml of nicotine in a 10ml bottle.

As US vaping laws do not state a maximum amount of nicotine vaping devices can contain, US vapers have been using stronger e-liquids to satisfy their cravings.

In the UK, where vaping regulations are more lenient than US ones, vaping devices and e-liquids containing any amount of nicotine cannot be advertised as quitting aids.

Age Restrictions

The age restrictions for vaping US and UK vaping laws are also different.

In the US, vapers must be at least 21 years of age to purchase vaping devices and e-liquids from non-tobacco retailers. In the UK, even if you are 25 or over you will be challenged to prove you are of legal age of 18+ to purchase vaping devices and e-liquids.

Although US vaping laws are more restrictive than UK regulations, US vapers can still buy vaping products online from foreign retailers and UK vapers may be able to purchase them from US websites.


The US doesn't have a lot of regulations surrounding the packaging of ecig products. US vaping devices and e-liquids can come in any color or style, whereas UK vaping products must have a childproof cap and be tamper-proof along with warning labels.

Why All the Fuss?

Regulations have come into place, especially due to the JULL-related deaths & faulty dangerous products that weren't properly checked. Not to mention the high nicotine contents US vapes contained. In the UK there have been no deaths due to vaping so it's hard to see why US vaping laws are stricter when there isn't much evidence suggesting US products are safer.

There have been attempts at making US vapes less potent yet US FDA has stated that their tests have come up with no clear results. US vape laws need to be better laid out and US FDA needs more time to see if the US vaping devices are safe enough.

To sum up, UK vaping laws are stricter than US laws in some areas but US laws could use more clarification. US vaping devices have to go through more safety checks than UK devices, however, US e-liquids don't have to meet the same quality control measures as UK e-liquids. The age restriction for US vapers is 21+, whereas UK vapers must be 18+. US vaping products don't have to comply with specific packaging regulations, whereas UK vaping products must have a childproof cap and be tamper-proof with warning labels. US FDA is still investigating whether US vaping devices are safe enough.

For more help and advice please email us at or call us on 01277 523205, one of our professional assistance will be more than happy to help with any questions or concerns you have.

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