Age restricted products

Age-restricted products are those goods and services for which there is a minimum legal age to buy them. Trading Standards has a duty to enforce the law relating to a number of age restricted products, see below.

Age restricted products and the law

Age restricted products have a minimum age of purchase due to their potentially harmful nature and because they have the potential to cause one or more of the following:

  • short term harm to the consumer/user (physical or emotional)
  • long term harm to the consumer/user (physical or emotional)
  • harm to others/wider society
  • increased risk of the consumer/user being a perpetrator of crime and disorder
  • increased risk of the consumer/user being a victim of crime and disorder

Products that have a minimum age of purchase

Legal age to purchase: 18 Includes beer, cider, spirits, alcopops, liqueurs
Legal age to purchase: 18 Includes cigarettes, tobacco, cigarette papers, cigars
Legal age to purchase: 18 Includes sparklers, rockets, Table Bombs, Fountains
Offensive weapons
Legal age to purchase: 18 Includes knives, knife blades, open edged razor blades, axes
Legal age to purchase: 18 Includes butane gas, lighter fuel, correction fluid, marker pens, glue
DVDs and video games
Age restriction as labelled Includes console games (Xbox, Playstation, etc.)
Party poppers
Legal age to purchase: 16
Legal age to purchase: 16
Spray paint
Legal age to purchase: 16
Lottery and scratch cards
Legal age to purchase: 16 Includes Lottery draws, Instant win scratch cards


It is an offence to sell products to someone younger than the minimum legal age and for some products it is an offence for somebody below the legal age to try to buy them.  Penalties are listed in our Products table.
Age Restricted Products - January 2020
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If you have information about a trader selling the above products to underage persons, you can report it to us through the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

Help in preventing underage sales

Trading Standards wants to help your business avoid making underage sales by: 

  • offering business advice and staff training
  • providing resources for training staffs
  • providing point of sale materials
  • helping you to understand and use the Challenge 25 policy

Challenge 25 policy pack

We have posters available for download below. Trading Standards can supply you with a Challenge 25 policy pack which contains:

  • posters informing customers that they will be required to show proof of age when buying alcohol or other age-restricted products
  • posters informing under 18s that it is an offence to buy or attempt to buy alcohol
  • staff badges and shelf-sliders
  • posters informing customers that it is an offence to buy alcohol on behalf of an under 18
  • till stickers with a short script printed on them to help staff challenge for proof of age
  • sample proof of age cards
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Size: 25KBFile format: pdf
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For more information about preventing underage sales or if you would like a Challenge 25 pack, please contact Trading Standards on 0345 045 5206 or

Test purchasing

In order to check businesses are complying with the age-restriction laws, Trading Standards conducts test purchase operations. This is done simply to check a business is trading in the correct way and not to trick you or catch you out. Therefore, the Council always:

  • uses volunteers who are under seventeen and a half and normally younger than sixteen and a half years old
  • chooses volunteers who look their age
  • ensures volunteers are not made up to look older than they are