The law in the UK states that customers must be 18 or over to buy alcohol and they must provide proof of age if challenged. It is also illegal to buy or attempt to buy alcohol for someone else under the age of 18, so as a retailer you are within your right to refuse to sell alcohol if you believe that this may be the case. Breach of this law can lead to a fine of up to £5,000. Selling alcohol to under 18s twice in three months can lead to a £20,000 fine and you may be prevented from selling alcohol for a limited time.
Tobacco and e-cigarettes
Users of e-cigarettes in the UK have risen rapidly, from 7 million in 2011 to 35 million in 2016 and it’s predicted to rise to 55 million in 2021. It’s believed that e-cigarettes pose less harm to your health than traditional cigarettes, with 49% of users saying that they use their e-cigarettes to stop smoking. However, there are said to be health risks associated with e-cigarettes, and as such the UK government have deemed both tobacco products and e-cigarettes as being an age restricted product, with no one under the age of 18 being able to purchase either product. Failure to comply with this law can land the seller with a fine of up to £2,500.
Even the National Lottery has Christmas themed draws, designed to increase the amount of players in the festive period. Gambling in the UK carries an age limit of 18, except in the case of the National Lottery, where the limit is reduced to 16, which also applies to National Lottery scratch cards. Selling a lottery ticket or scratch card to anyone under the age of 16 can lead to a fine of up to £5,000, as well as the possibility of having your lottery terminal removed.
Fireworks are split into different categories for the different types that are available. Category 2 and 3 fireworks are considered “adult" fireworks and must not be sold to anyone under the age of 18. Category 1 fireworks include party poppers and must not be sold to anyone under the age of 16, however what you should be most vigilant about around the festive period is Christmas crackers, which carry an age restriction of 12 years old, and by breaking either of these laws, you could be subject to an unlimited fine and a six month prison sentence.
Video games, Blu Rays and DVDs
Media based presents such as DVDs or video games have become a more regular appearance on letters to Santa in recent years. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) are the UK’s classification board who decide on age ratings for films and TV shows, whereas Pan-European Game Information (PEGI), is now responsible for rating video games, since taking over from the BBFC in 2012. PEGI reported an increase of 9.4% in 18+ rated products since 2003 signalling a trend in more age restricted products entering the market. Breaking this law can result in a maximum of 6 months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000 for the person who sold the item.