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Date updated: 18/05/2022

What should retailers do?

If an age-restricted product is sold to an underage person, even if they claim they are for an adult, the retailer and the salesperson can be guilty of a criminal offence.

Anyone who sells age-restricted products should be fully aware of the age limits, adequately trained and aware of company procedures and policies to ensure that no sale ever takes place to an underage person.

If you are in doubt, and the person cannot provide legitimate proof of their age, our advice is to refuse to sell the goods to them. Acceptable types of proof of age must contain a photograph of the holder and their date of birth, eg a passport or driving licence. Other than in the case of alcohol, the buyer does not commit an offence in purchasing the age restricted product.

Cigarettes and tobacco products

​It is an offence to sell these to anybody under 18 years. Cigarettes must be sold in their original packaging and must not be split and sold as a separate item.

Where cigarettes are sold retailers must clearly display a notice (measuring not less than 30x42cm) stating:

"It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18"

A suitable notice may be ordered from the Citizencard website.


​Fireworks must be sold in their original packaging, which includes warnings, and should not be split into single items.

Fireworks (including hand held sparklers) cannot be sold to anyone under 18.

Other explosive devices such as:

  • Caps
  • Throwdowns
  • Party poppersarty poppers
  • Table bombs
  • Ovelty matches and serpents cannot be sold to anyone under 16.

Video recordings (DVDs, videos, games)

​It is an offence to sell or hire these to a person who has not attained the age specified in the rating certificate which may be 12, 15 or 18.

Intoxicating substances

​Solvents include:

  • Lighter fuel/fluidighter fuel/fluid
  • olvent based glues and adhesivesolvent based glues and adhesivesolvent based glues and adhesivesolvent based glues and adhesives
  • Aerosols
  • Nail varnish remover
  • Anti-freeze and typewriter correction fluid.

It is an offence to supply these to a person under 18 if you know or believe that they are likely to inhale the substance to achieve intoxication.

Butane gas/fluid cigarette lighter refills

​It is an offence to supply any cigarette lighter refill canister containing butane or substance with butane as a constituent part to anyone under 18.

National lottery

​It is an offence to sell a lottery ticket or instant win scratchcard to a person under 16.


​It is an offence to sell alcohol to a person under 18.

Liqueur chocolates

​It is an offence to supply liqueur chocolates to anyone under 16.

Offensive weapons

​It is an offence to sell knives including kitchen knives, utility knives, axes and razor blades to anyone under 18.​