Age Restricted Products

There are several laws in force which place age restrictions on a number of products to protect the health and safety of young people.  It is illegal to sell or supply these products to people who have not reached the required age.

The following table provides information on the age restrictions in place and all relevant legislation and sanctions.

Age Restricted Products
ProductAge LimitLegislationMaximum Penalty
Alcohol18Licensing Act 2003 £ 5,000.00 fine and loss of licence
Tobacco products (Including cigarettes, cigarette papers, etc)18

Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991.  Children and Young Persons Act 1933

£ 2,500.00 fine
Fireworks18Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997 £ 5,000.00 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment
Lighter refills containing butane18Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999 £ 5,000.00 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment
Volatile substances / solvents (when it is believed that they are likely to be inhaled or are for the purposes of being intoxicated)18Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 £ 5,000.00 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment
Offensive weapons (Knives, knife blade, axe, any other article which has a blade or is sharply pointed and which is made or adapted for use for causing injury to a person)18Offensive Weapons Act 1996 £ 5,000.00 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment
Lottery tickets / scratchcards16National Lottery, etc Act 1993.  National Lottery Regulations 1994 £ 5,000.00 fine and up to 2 years imprisonment
Video Recordings (including Computer Games)12, 15, 18Video Recordings Act 1984 £ 5,000.00 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment

In order to ensure compliance with the above legislation Trading Standards conduct regular test purchasing exercises to off-licences using young volunteers.

We respond to specific complaints and also carry out assessments of risk for the Cumbria area.  Otherwise, we frequently deal with problems relating to age restricted products and underage sales through routine inspection, advice to traders and education.

Proof of Age

If you are a business selling age restricted products and you are ever in doubt about the age of someone wanting to buy any of these items then ask for proof of age.

If you sell an age restricted product to someone under age then you could face one of the sanctions listed above.  This applies to the business, but also to the person who makes the sale.  If you have an alcohol license, this may be reviewed or even taken away.

Challenge 21

Sometimes it can be beneficial for a business to adopt a policy which will assist in the prevention of age restricted products being sold to children.

This means that if you think someone looks under 21 then ask for proof of age.  Some retailers are now using age 25 as a guide, so anyone who looks 25 or under is asked to prove their age.  This extra caution ensures that you don't supply to someone under 18 by mistake.

Where you ask for proof of age, it is important that you only accept legitimate identification.

Legitimate ID includes:

  • PASS-approved identification card

  • Driving licence

  • A passport

If you suspect that a retailer or any other person is selling age restricted products to people under the age limit, you can report it to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

For further information about age related products visit Challenge 25