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Age restricted products

Age restrictions apply to the sale of certain products and services, including alcohol, tobacco, blades, fireworks, and sunbeds.

Our Trading Standards service is responsible for enforcing regulations on age related sales.

We are committed to improving standards of community health and safety. One of the ways we plan to do this is by enforcing the law relating to the sale of age restricted products.

We do this through:

  • inspections, written guidance, campaigns with other enforcement agencies and making test purchases with the assistance of young volunteers who are underage

We plan to use these enforcement actions throughout the year.

Products with an age restriction

Products with a legal minimum age of 18 are:

  • knives
  • tobacco
  • alcohol
  • fireworks
  • lottery tickets
  • corrosives

Products with a legal minimum age of 16 are:

  • aerosol paints

Products with a varied minimum age are:

  • DVDs, individually age restricted

Business advice

As a Service we can offer advice and guidance to businesses in the City of Westminster about complying with the trading standards laws regarding the sale of age restricted goods to customers below the legal age.

We can only help you if your business is located within the borough. If not, you should contact your local trading standards department. You can find contact details on the Trading Standards Institute Website

For business guidance on law relating to age restricted goods please visit the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Business Companion.

We have outlined advice for some of the main age restricted products below:

  • Alcohol - a guide to ensuring that underage sales of alcohol do not take place, and the implications if a sale is made
  • Cigarette lighter refills - if you sell lighter refill canisters containing butane, you must be sure customers are not underage
  • Fireworks -  a guide to the sale of fireworks, including licensing, categories of fireworks and age restriction
  • Sunbeds - sunbed businesses must adhere to the legal age restrictions, which were introduced because the young are at greater risk of developing skin cancer
  • Tobacco and nicotine inhaling products - the law requires that tobacco and nicotine inhaling products are not sold to under 18’s and it also prohibits the in-store display of tobacco products

Useful material

The A3 Statutory Notice is available from the following link: No ID No Sale A3-statutory-tobacco-notice. The law requires that this poster is of A3 size only. Please do not print in A4 or other sizes of paper.

Other materials, such as refusals registers and other display materials, are also available from No ID No Sale

Responsible Retailer Agreement on Knife Sales

London Trading Standards launched the London Responsible Retailer Agreement on the Safe Storage and Sale of Knives (RRA) in partnership with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the Metropolitan Police Service.

All City of Westminster retailers selling knives are being invited to sign up to the new scheme, with an emphasis on attracting smaller independent businesses to help them comply with the law. The RRA urges businesses and staff to:

  • understand the basic requirements for the safe storage of knives
  • follow the asses, challenge, check process for selling age-restricted goods
  • know when and how to contact police with suspicions of knife crime or where staff feel threatened by customers

The aim is that businesses in City of Westminster will be visited by trading standards, local police, or both to encourage them to sign up to the agreement.

The RRA is accompanied by a good practice guide and a set of online retailer training animations which can be accessed via the links below:

Consumer assistance

Proof of Age Cards

If you are under 25 you may bed asked to prove your age in pubs, clubs, at the cinema and in shops when you buy age restricted products, for example alcohol and tobacco under the ‘THINK 25’ policy.

An alternative to taking your passport or driving licence out with you, and to assist traders in checking the actual age of young people (whose appearance often does not correspond with their age), Trading Standards supports the Proof of Age Standard Scheme (PASS) cards. All PASS schemes display a hologram PASS logo.

Reporting underage sales

If you suspect a premises in Westminster is selling age restricted goods to children below the legal age limit, please contact us.

Please note that we can only help if the premises is located within the City of Westminster

Published: 27 July 2021

Last updated: 27 July 2021