Age Restricted Sales

Many parents worry about their children smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs. When is the right time to talk to your children? Young people may also want advice about these subjects and may find it difficult to talk to their parents.

Age restrictions for products are brought in by the Government to protect the underage person. The impact of underage drinking and smoking can be devastating on the health and development of the individual.

It is a criminal offence to sell an age-restricted product to someone who is underage. The punishment can be a fine of up to £5000 or six months imprisonment.

Communities can also be badly affected, particularly by underage drinking which can often lead to anti-social behaviour and a fear of crime. We work with Hampshire Constabulary and other departments to tackle these issues.

The table shows the age restrictions for all relevant products.

GoodsAge Restriction
Adult fireworks and sparklers (category F2 [outdoor use - confined areas] and category F3 [outdoor use - large open areas] fireworks)
18 and over
Aerosol paint 16 and over
Alcohol 18 and over
Christmas crackers 12 and over
Crossbows 18 and over
Knives, axes, blades 18 and over  (in Scotland domestic knives can be sold to those aged 16 and over)
Lighter refills containing butane
18 and over
Liqueur confectionery (Scotland only) 16 and over
Lottery tickets / 'instant win' cards
16 and over
Nicotine inhaling products (England and Wales only)
18 and over
Party poppers and similar low-hazard low-noise fireworks (category F1) (except Christmas crackers)
16 and over
16 and over
18 and over
18 and over
Video recordings: U (universal)
Video recordings: PG (parental guidance)
Video recordings: classification 12
12 and over
Video recordings: classification 15
15 and over
Video recordings: classification 18
18 and over
Video recordings: classification R18
18 years and over in a licensed sex shop
Video games: PEGI rating 3
Video games: PEGI rating 7
Video games: PEGI rating 12
12 and over
Video games: PEGI rating 16
16 and over
Video games: PEGI rating 18
18 and over

Prevention of underage sales

We carry out test purchases to check retailers are complying with the law and not selling age-restricted products to underage persons. These exercises involve a young person attempting to buy an age-restricted product such as alcohol, tobacco, solvents, knives or spray paints. If you are aged between 14 and 16 years old and would be interested in carrying out test purchases, email

Challenge 25

For retailers wishing to use the Challenge 25 age verification policy, view the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

Reporting Underage Sales

If you have witnessed the sale of age-restricted products, or believe a business is selling age-restricted products illegally, use our online form.

Related links

Drugs – Talk to Frank.

Alcohol and your child – The short and long term risks Alcohol, the law and Young People (PDF, 450KB, 2 pages)​.

Things you can’t buy until you are older – Age Restricted Sales leaflet (PDF, 295KB, 8 pages), from the Isle of Wight Trading Standards Service ​.