Age restricted products

Trading Standards Officers enforce laws relating to underage sales of alcohol and cigarettes as well as other products including fireworks, knives and spray paint.

Depending on the circumstances, a person caught selling any such product illegally faces a fine, they may potentially lose a licence, and in the most extreme cases even face imprisonment.

Challenge 21 policy

We encourage retailers to operate at least a 'challenge 21 policy'. This means that if they think a customer buying an age restricted product looks under the age of 21 they should ask if they have proof of age. Some retailers go further and ask purchasers for proof of age if their customer appears under 25. We support that too.

We recommend that retailers only accept proof of age that contains the PASS hologram.

During the current Coronavirus pandemic persons entering a shop are required, unless exempted, to wear a face covering at all times. However for the purposes of checking the age of a person being sold an age restricted product it is acceptable to ask the person being challenged to temporarily remove their face coving.

We ask that customers respect retailers who ask for proof of age and comply with requests to temporarily remove face coverings, as the consequences of getting this wrong could be severe.

Minimum age limits

Below are the minimum legal age for the most common age restricted products.

Product Age
Alcohol 18 or over
Tobacco and nicotine inhaling products (e-cigarettes) 18 or over
Knives 18 or over
Fireworks 18 or over
DVD's 12, 15 or 18
Video games 12, 15 or 18
Gas lighter refills 18 or over
Sun beds 18 or over
Solvents 18 or over
Lottery tickets 16 or over
Spray paints 16 or over
Petrol 16 or over

Public Protection Unit - Trading Standards

Eco Depot, Hazel Court, York, YO10 3DS

Telephone: 08082 231133