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How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy a Vape Without Nicotine?

Answering the question, “How old do you have to be to buy a vape without nicotine?” can be confusing.

If a vape doesn’t contain nicotine, shouldn’t anyone be allowed to buy one? Should there be a legal vaping age if nicotine isn’t involved? Or is it the vaping devices themselves, and not the nicotine, that’s the problem? How old do you have to be to buy a non-nic vape?

The answer to these questions isn’t as straightforward as you might think. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy a Vape Without Nicotine?

This question gets asked a lot because, in theory anyway, there shouldn't be an age restriction for a vape if it doesn't contain nicotine. Right?

People who come down on this side of the argument look at nicotine-free vapes much in the same way as, say, nonalcoholic coolers. The argument goes that anyone can walk into their local supermarket and buy coolers — so why not vapes? Should there even be a non-nicotine vape age limit?

There are no minimum age restrictions on coolers because there's no alcohol in them. And alcohol is the substance that governments are trying to keep away from minors.

Take that argument to its logical next step with non-nicotine vapes. They don't contain nicotine, which is the substance that we're trying to prevent minors from having access to. Anyone should be able to buy any vape that doesn't contain nicotine. However, in practice, that's not the case.

The Tobacco Free Youth Act in the United States, a federal law that raised the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21, does not explicitly cover non-nicotine vapes. But in practice, it might as well.

Most states and local jurisdictions — even though they have their own laws regarding the sale of vaping products — will not allow the sale of non-nicotine vapes or even vape accessories to anyone under 21.

Some states even define “tobacco products” to include any device that can be used to deliver an inhaled substance, which, of course, includes vapes.

In this case, the minimum age to purchase a nicotine-free vape is going to be the same as the age required to buy a vape that contains nicotine, which is 21.

Things get even more complicated when we talk about online sales. As the old saying goes, “On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog.” And in theory, no one knows how old you are either. But once again, reality takes over.

Most reputable online vape retailers will require some kind of age verification to sell vaping products to anyone. That includes nicotine-containing products and nicotine-free vapes.

Of course, enforcing this age restriction online can be more challenging than in a physical store, and you may find some sketchy sellers who need to be more thorough in verifying age. But, reputable online retailers will still follow the 21+ guidelines.

Bottom line — if a retailer IDs, they will expect you to be 21 whether your vape contains nicotine or is nicotine-free.

Do You Need an ID to Buy a No-Nic Vape?

If you're buying the vape at a physical location, you should expect to need to show ID, whether or not that vape contains nicotine.

Of course, you’re always going to be able to find less-than-reputable stores and sellers who are willing to break the law and sell vapes to minors. But you could say the same thing about bars that knowingly allow underage customers.

As mentioned above, when you start including online retailers, you add wrinkles to the story. It's much harder to verify age when the person is not standing before you and producing a physical ID.

When buying online, you'll usually be asked to prove you are 21. This probation usually involves submitting a photo ID or using an age verification service with access to public records.

However, as mentioned above, enforcing age restrictions online can often be inconsistent. The bottom line, though, is that if you're buying a vape — even if it's completely nicotine-free — you should expect to provide an ID showing that you're 21.

Where Can You Buy Nicotine-free Vapes?

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There are four main options when it comes to where to buy nicotine-free vapes, and each one comes with its own unique set of pros and cons. So, let's briefly go over those now.

Gas stations/convenience stores: Gas stations and convenience stores are always going to be an option for both vapes with nicotine and vapes without nicotine.

One of the pros of your local corner store is its convenience. After all, it's right in the name.

But two big cons come with that convenience. One is price. You'll pay a higher price for the same product at a gas station or convenience store. Everything, including vapes, will cost more in these stores.

The second con is selection. These stores are built to cater to the lowest common denominator, so they often only keep a few very basic and widely known options in stock.

There are better places to find the niche vape you are seeking. We always recommend resorting to convenience stores only in a pinch rather than making them your usual source.

Local smoke shops/vape stores: Local smoke shops or vape stores are your second in-person option. Such businesses are a giant step above your local convenience store. These stores will often be staffed with experts with extensive knowledge or experience with what they sell.

A specialty store generally has a much more comprehensive selection than a convenience store, and the employees should be able to tell you a lot about their different options.

These stores can be a great option if you want to explore new brands that you may have yet to try or are looking for recommendations based on taste or other preferences.

Online retailers: Although you won't find these types of vapes sold on places like Amazon.com, plenty of online retailers specialize in selling vapes.

These retailers will often sell both vapes with nicotine and vapes without and usually have an extensive selection to choose from.

Direct from the manufacturer: We always recommend this option once you’ve gotten familiar with a few brands you like.

When you buy directly from the manufacturer, you’ll most likely get the best prices on the best nicotine-free vapes, and you can often take advantage of perks like bulk discounts and loyalty programs, which can drop prices even further.

Check out our MELO & HELO collection of nicotine-free vapes for the latest deals.

Another benefit of buying directly from the manufacturer is that you can sometimes get access to products that aren't available anywhere else.

Occasionally, a manufacturer will release limited editions of its devices or unique flavor options that are only available when you buy directly online.

Once you've chosen a brand or two you like, we recommend heading over to the manufacturer’s website and seeing what deals you can score or what frequent buyer programs you can sign up for.

Do a little digging, and you might be surprised with the benefits you can find.

Is Vaping With 0 Nicotine Safe for You?

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While it's impossible to say that nicotine-free vapes are 100% safe (we’ll explain why in a second), what we can say with almost certainty is that zero-nicotine vapes are safer for you and don’t carry the same health risks as vapes with nicotine.

We also cover this question extensively in our article Is 0 Nicotine Vape Safe?, and in our rundown of Safe Vapes: No Nicotine.

If you have any knowledge at all of what nicotine does to your body, it should be easy to understand why. Nicotine causes all kinds of problems, many of which can lead to deadly consequences.

For one thing, there's a direct correlation between nicotine and high blood pressure. And if your blood pressure goes up, so does your risk of heart attacks and strokes, both of which can kill you.

There’s no ingredient in any major market nicotine-free vape that comes with that level of danger. However, as we mentioned above, that's not to say that nicotine-free vapes are always safe.

Long-term studies have yet to examine the effects of vaping ingredients like propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, the two compounds that make up most vape juice, even non-nicotine vape juice.

Then, of course, there's the question of what’s in the non-nicotine vape, if not nicotine.

Many manufacturers of nicotine-free vapes will put other ingredients in them to attract customers. You can find vapes with supplements, vitamins, herbs, and other compounds, any of which might be dangerous to an individual with a sensitivity or allergy to them.

You should approach a vape in the same way that you would approach any other product that you were putting into your body. For example, if you know you are allergic to something like chamomile, you wouldn't want to use a nicotine-free vape that includes chamomile in its ingredients. That's just one obvious example.

Think of it this way: if you wouldn’t eat or drink it, you probably wouldn’t want to vape it.

Another possible concern is that you could become dependent on the act of vaping itself. We're going to cover this in more detail in the question below.

Still, the idea here is that even if you’re using a vape that doesn’t contain nicotine — which is the addictive compound in cigarettes and standard vapes — you can still become psychologically "hooked” on vaping, to the point where you feel like it's something you’re compelled to do.

Is Nicotine-Free Vaping Addictive?

Let's be careful about throwing the word “addiction” around when we’re asking, “are nicotine-free vapes addictive.” A true addiction involves an actual chemical dependency. As long as whatever is in your vape is not an addictive substance, you can't truly become addicted to a non-nicotine vape.

That's not to say you can't become psychologically dependent on it — you certainly can. Developing nicotine dependence is only part of the reason people get addicted to smoking (although that is usually the most significant part).

The other part of the addiction is the psychological component. And vapes, whether they contain nicotine or not, provide that same — or at least a similar — psychological component.

The behaviors that you might find hard to break include the oral fixation component, which involves the hand-to-mouth motion involved in vaping, the sensory pleasure that you get out of it, and perhaps something like stress relief, all of which can contribute to a penchant for the act of vaping itself.

What are the Potential Side Effects of Nicotine-Free Vapes?

There are no side effects specific to nicotine-free vapes that aren't also risks of any other kind of vape.

Side effects related to vaping itself can include irritated lungs or airways, which can lead to symptoms like coughing, dry mouth, wheezing, or shortness of breath. But these are common to any vape, no matter what it contains.

Then, you have side effects related to whatever is in the vape juice. It's impossible to go over those one by one because you might find dozens of different ingredients in any particular vape.

It's essential to read labels and do a little bit of research into a vape’s ingredients to determine what the possible side effects from those ingredients may be.

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So there you have it. Although it’s not a cut-and-dried and true-in-all-circumstances answer, you should generally expect to need to show proof of being at least 21 to buy a nicotine-free vape.

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