Age restricted sales

Legislation restricts the sale of certain products to anyone below specific age limits.

If an age restricted product is sold to someone under the legal age limit, both the retailer and the person who sold the product can be found guilty of an offence.

Trading Standards enforces the law on:

  • tobacco
  • tobacco products e.g. cigarette papers
  • nicotine vapour products (NVP) or e-cigarettes **
  • butane gas lighter refills
  • fireworks
  • spray paint devices
  • DVDs
  • computer games
  • sunbed hire

Police Scotland enforces the law on alcohol and weapons and you can contact them on their non emergency number 101 for advice.


View our Age Related Sales Guide


Restricted products with a 16 age limit

The following goods must not be supplied to anyone under 16 years of age:

  • National lottery tickets
  • Cracker snaps
  • Caps
  • Novelty matches
  • Party poppers
  • Serpents
  • Throw downs
  • Aerosol spray paints
  • Petroleum spirit
  • Liqueur chocolates 

Restricted products with an 18 age limit

The following must not be supplied to anyone under 18 years of age:

  • Tobacco
  • Tobacco products e.g. cigarette papers
  • Nicotine vapour products (NVP) or e-cigarettes **
  • Knives
  • Fireworks
  • Solvents
  • Butane Gas
  • Alcohol
  • Sunbed hire


** From 1 April 2017 new rules apply to the sale and purchase of tobacco and nicotine vapour products, known as NVPs or e-cigarettes.

The legislative changes mean that:

  • it is illegal to sell NVPs to anyone under 18
  • it is illegal to buy NVPs for someone under 18
  • all retailers selling tobacco or NVPs will need to be registered
  • stores will need to have an age verification policy for sales of tobacco and NVPs
  • an unauthorised person under 18 will not be able to sell these products

These were introduced in the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016. In addition, the Act proposed a number of restrictions around advertising NVPs and a ban on NVP vending machines, which will be introduced later this year.

Nicotine vapour products, or NVPs, is the term used in Scotland to cover all types of electronic cigarettes, vaping devices and related products.


Restriction on films, TV programmes, video games etc.

The Video Recordings Act 1984 requires all ‘video works’ (films, TV programmes, video games, etc) which are supplied on a disc, tape or any other device capable of storing data electronically to be classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), unless they fall within the definition of an exempted work.

Further information is available online from the BBFC.


See further information on the The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010.

The law is enforced in the following ways:

  • We provide advice and education to traders and consumers, including parents, teachers and young people.
  • We investigate complaints made by consumers or traders.
  • We use young volunteers, in appropriate cases, to attempt to buy age restricted products. They behave as ordinary customers, under the supervision of a Trading Standards enforcement officer. Strict government guidelines ensure that the exercise is fair and safe. If a sale takes place, legal proceedings may commence.


Trading standards enforcement officers can issue fixed penalty notices for offences, including selling tobacco to under-18s, or not being on the tobacco retailers register.

The level of fixed penalty notice is £200 plus an escalator of £200 for every additional offence committed in a two year period. Offences can be reported to the Procurator Fiscal where heavier fines can be imposed.

If a retailer has been found to be in breach of tobacco sales legislation three times within a two year period (either through a fixed penalty notice or a criminal conviction) a local authority can apply to the courts to have the retailer banned from selling tobacco. A court can ban a retailer from selling tobacco for up to a year.

If you have information about a retailer in Fife selling an age restricted product to a person under the legal age, please report it to us via our Trading Standards reporting form for further investigation. This can be done anonymously.




Trading Standards
Tel: 01592 583141 Fax: 01592 583318 Contact Trading Standards online
By Post: Kingdom House Kingdom Avenue Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LY
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