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Undercover surgery: can a 15-year-old buy an e-cigarette?

Purchase has put e-cigarette sales to young people to the test. A number of 15-year-olds were sent out as mystery shoppers. The result: one in three vape shops sold e-cigarettes to minors, which is prohibited by law.

The consumer organization wanted to check whether vape shops, which profile themselves as specialists, respected the law and provided buyers with the correct information. The best e liquids are found online. That is why several mystery shoppers went out to see whether their questions were answered correctly in the stores and whether they could buy an electronic cigarette.


A 15-year-old was instructed to explicitly state his age during the purchase. Nevertheless, he was able to obtain an e-cigarette, with or without e-liquid, in 9 of the 30 stores surveyed without any problems. He even bought e-cigarettes with nicotine in 8 shops.

According to Test Aankoop, the result is worrying. “We see this as problematic because young people get addicted to nicotine faster in this way and once that is the case, it is still very difficult to get rid of it. In addition, the sale of electronic cigarettes to young people under the age of 16 (18 years from November) is prohibited and this ban also applies to electronic cigarettes without nicotine,” said Simon November, spokesperson for Test Aankoop.

Lung diseases

An e-cigarette is not a harmless product, because it contains harmful components. In addition, US authorities recently revealed a link between e-cigarettes and lung disease and convulsions. Test Aankoop therefore requires better regulation. E cigarettes cheap. First of all, they want to ban flavorings. In addition, they want to remove the distinction between electronic cigarettes with and without nicotine. Finally, they want official permission for mystery shopping in tobacconists and vape shops. The consumer organization has submitted all requirements to ministers Beke and De Block.