List of age restricted products and services in the UK

The sale of restricted products to minors has been recognised by the Government as a matter affecting our entire society. These laws exist to safeguard the population, and when they are infringed, it becomes a matter of the criminal justice system. Retailers are required to display warnings and notices when selling particular age-restricted products, and are also required to ask young people for ID / proof of age. Penalties for selling age-restricted products to minors vary depending upon the product and circumstances of the sale so make sure you know which products and services are restricted in the UK. A seller could receive a fixed penalty of £80 but for repeated sales could be a higher fine up to £5,000. They could also be banned from working in a tobacco shop for up to one year. The shop owner could receive a fine of up to £5,000 for the first offence but as high as £20,000 for repeated breaches, a criminal record and restrictions placed on any licences that they hold or intend to apply for. The licence holder could lose their licence to sell alcohol or fireworks, have the lottery terminal removed or be banned from selling tobacco products for up to one year.

If you have a petrol station on site, there are additional restrictions on the sale of anything that is flammable (including the petrol/diesel), explosive or oxidising. This can include many household goods, like cleaning products. In petrol stations these cannot be sold to customers under 16 years.

number 18

18 years old and over restrictions

Restricted products in stores:

  • All tobacco products
  • Cigarette lighter refills, butane
  • Alcohol
  • e-Cigaretts or e-Liquids
  • Fireworks and sparklers
  • PEGI 18-rated games
  • 18/R18 rated videos (DVDs/Blu-Ray/streaming videos)
  • Knives, axes, razor blades (except safety razors)
  • Newspapers/magazines with any R18/R18 videos/games attached
  • Solvents, including glues and intoxicating substances
  • Crossbows
  • Imitation firearms and air weapons

Restricted venues and services:

  • Bars and pubs
  • Nightclubs
  • Voting in the UK elections
  • Cinema movies rated 18
  • Shisha lounges
  • Adult entertainment stores
  • Tatoo parlours
  • Betting shops
  • Getting a credit card
  • Sunbeds
  • Getting married
number 16

16 years old and over restrictions

Restricted products in stores:

  • National Lottery and the Health Lottery
  • Scratch cards
  • Petrol, paraffin and liquefied petroleum gas
  • Novelty matches
  • Caps
  • Serpents
  • Party poppers, throw downs, cracker snaps
  • Aerosol spray paints
  • Jumbo markers
  • PEGI 16 rated games
  • Pets and animals

Restricted venues and services:

  • Cinema for movies U-rated to 15-rated
  • Most piercing salons
  • Full-time employment
  • Domestic flights
number 15

15 years old and over restrictions

Restricted products in stores:

  • Newspapers/magazines with any 15 rated videos/games attached
  • 15 rated videos (DVD/Blu-Ray discs/streaming videos)

Restricted venues and services:

  • Cinema for movies U-rated to 15-rated
  • Join British Army (15 years, 7 months)
number 12

12 years old and over restrictions

Restricted products in stores:

  • Newspapers/magazines with any 12/12A rated videos/games attached
  • 12/12A rated videos (DVD/Blu-Ray discs/streaming videos)
  • Christmas Crackers
  • PEGI 12 rated games

Restricted venues and services:

  • Cinema for movies U-rated to 12/12A-rated

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