Age restricted products are 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 many age restricted products.
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 legal age of purchase
There are laws that restrict the sale of certain products and services to underage people.
- It is an offence to sell products to someone younger than the minimum legal age
- For some products, it is an offence for someone younger than the legal age to try to buy them
Examples of products that have age restrictions include:
- Aerosol paint
- Botox and cosmetic fillers
- Corrosive substances
- Fireworks and sparklers
- Knives, axes and blades
- Lottery tickets
- Petrol and diesel
Visit the Business Companion website for information on age restricted products. On their website, you can find a full list of products, their minimum legal ages, prevention tips and further guidance.
Report a trader selling age restricted products to an underage person
If you have information about a trader selling age restricted products to an underage person, please report to us through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.
Guidance for retailers
Through Regulatory Companion, our business advice service, we can support businesses with guidance, training and system reviews. Visit our business advice page for more information. Fees apply.
The No ID No Sale! website also has information to support your business, including guidance, materials and information packs.
We recommend that retailers operate a 'Challenge 25' policy. This means that you and your staff:
- Challenge every potential customer who looks under the age of 25
- Ask to see identification if a customer tries to buy an age restricted product
By doing this, you will ensure you challenge people who are under 18 but look older.
We have Challenge 25 posters available for you to download and print.
Please note we intend these posters for print only.
You can also find posters on the Challenge 25 website.
Online sales of age restricted products in England and Wales
Selling age restricted products via the internet presents particular issues. Retailers must have effective systems in place for preventing sales to prospective customers who are underage.
Our Trading Standards Officers conduct test purchases at premises to ensure they comply with the law in respect of age restricted products.
We usually undertake these tests at premises where intelligence indicates that the retailer has either sold age restricted products to a minor, or previously sold when we conducted a test.
We carry out our test purchasing work with regard to:
- The Age Restricted Products Code of Practice
- The Age Restricted Products and Services Framework
The Government's Better Regulation Delivery Office issues both of these documents. They ensure fairness and consistency.