Skip to main content

Age restricted products

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

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
  • Alcohol
  • Botox and cosmetic fillers
  • Corrosive substances
  • Fireworks and sparklers
  • Knives, axes and blades
  • Lottery tickets
  • Petrol and diesel
  • Tobacco (view our illegal tobacco page)
  • Vapes

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

Visit the Business Companion website for guidance on preventing underage sales.

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.

Challenge 25

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.

Visit the Business Companion website for guidance on preventing underage sales.

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.

View the online sales of age restricted products guide on the Business Companion website.

Test purchasing

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. 

View the Code of Practice for Age Restricted Products on the GOV.UK website.