Age Restricted Products

Which Products Are Age Restricted?

Take a look below for a simple guide to which products are age restricted in the UK and how old you need to be to buy them, as well as the laws that apply to this. For further information please check out the rest of the Age Restricted Products section of the site, or contact us.

Age Restricted Product Age Restriction
Alcohol 18
Cigarettes and tobacco products 18
Fireworks 18
Knives, blades and axes (not including folding knives with blades under 3 inches long) 18
Solvents and lighter refills 18
Lottery tickets and scratch cards 16
Petrol 16
Spray paints 16
Video/DVD/Games As shown on certificate E.g 12,15,18

Laws & Legislation:

Children and Young Persons (Protection From Tobacco) Act 1991, The Children and Young Persons Act 1933 & The Health Act 2009

Under this legislation, it is an offence for any person to sell cigarettes, tobacco products or cigarette papers to anyone under 18 years of age, even if they look older. This is the case whether or not the cigarettes are for the young person’s own use. It is also an offence to sell cigarettes unless they are in quantities of ten or more and in their original packaging. This means that packets of cigarettes cannot be split to sell lesser quantities (this is not true of cigars). A warning notice should be exhibited at the point of sale, which is clearly visible to anyone at all retail premises selling tobacco. It must not be less than 297mm x 420mm (A3), with no character being less than 36mm in height.

As of October 2011, it is illegal to sell tobacco from a vending machine directly to consumers (machines can be used for storage, for example so a salesperson can get the packet and give it to a customer, but it cannot directly be used by consumers). It is also now illegal to display tobacco products at the point of sale in large stores. The same restrictions will apply in small stores from 6 April 2015. As selling tobacco is becoming an increasingly complex and regulated area, we recommend doing extensive research into your legal obligations before selling any tobacco products, and get in touch with us if you need more information.

Offensive Weapons Act 1996

This makes it an offence to sell to anyone under the age of 18 any knife, knife blade or razor blade, axe or any other article which has a blade or which is sharply pointed, and which is made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person. Whether a particular article is a knife is a question of fact, but using a wider definition, this legislation prohibits sales of, for example, sheath knives, kitchen knives, craft knives and carpet knives to persons under the age of 18. This legislation does not apply to folding pocket knives if the cutting edge of the blade is less than three inches or 7.62cm. Nor does it apply to replacement cartridges for safety razors, where less than 2mm of the blade is exposed.

The Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997 (as amended)

These Regulations prohibit the supply of fireworks and assemblies to a person under the age of 18. The age limit remains at 16 for caps, cracker snaps, novelty matches, party poppers, serpents and throwdowns, by virtue of the Explosives Act 1875 (as amended).

The Fireworks Regulations 2004

These regulations require that, where adult fireworks are supplied or exposed for supply in any premises, a notice must be displayed in a prominent position to advise that there is an age limit on the sale of fireworks.

The Video Recordings Act 1984

It is an offence to supply, or to offer to supply, a video recording to any person who has not attained the age specified on the recording (as certified by the BBFC). This legislation applies to video films, video games and computer games.

The classifications are as follows:
U – Universal – Suitable for all ages/Uc Universal – particularly suitable for children
PG – Parental Guidance – general viewing but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children
12 – Suitable only for persons 12 years and over
15 – Suitable only for persons 15 years and over
18 – Suitable only for persons 18 years and over
R18 – Suitable only for persons 18 years and over, and can only be sold in a licensed sex shop

Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985

It is an offence under this legislation to sell volatile substances or solvent-based products to or for a person under the age of 18, and the product is likely to be inhaled for the purposes of becoming intoxicated. This offence applies even when it is known that another person is buying the product for the person under the age of 18. Solvents may be sold to persons under 18 for their normal intended use.

The Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999

It is an offence to supply cigarette lighter refill canisters containing butane to anyone under 18.

National Lottery, etc. Act 1993 National Lottery Regulations 1994

It is an offence to sell National Lottery (Lotto) tickets and Instant Win cards (scratch cards) to any person under 16. The Regulations also require anyone selling such products to be 16 or over.

Licensing Act 2003

This is jointly enforced by the police and trading standards. It is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under 18, or for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase alcohol. The seller and the company may be liable for this offence. The seller may also be issued with a fixed penalty fine of £80.

Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928

It may be a licensing condition that anyone in charge of a petrol station must be at least 18, and anyone dispensing petrol, or operating a petrol dispensing system, must be at least 16.

Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003

It is an offence to sell aerosol spray paint to persons aged under 16.