Underage Sales of Tobacco Products

Since 2008 the law controlling the sale of tobacco products in Northern Ireland states:

  • It is illegal to sell cigarettes or other tobacco products (including cigarette papers) to anyone under the age of 18 years.  Business owners who sell these products to anyone under 18 can be fined up to £2,500.
  • Shops selling tobacco must display a warning notice which reads “It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18”.  Anyone selling tobacco and not displaying the notice can be fined up to £1,000.  You can request a copy of the notice by contacting the Environmental Health Department at 0300 303 1777.
  • Cigarettes and tobacco products should only be sold to people who have identification proving they are over 18, such as a Passport, Driving Licence or proof of age card that carries the PASS hologram logo.

Advice for Business Owners
As a Business owner, you must take reasonable precautions and show due care when selling tobacco products to the public.  You can do this by:

  • Making sure you and your staff are aware of the law regarding the sale of age-restricted goods
  • Supporting the law and adopting a policy of ‘No ID, No Sale’
  • Displaying statutory warning notices, where needed
  • Regularly training and supporting your staff
  • Keeping a record of any refusals

Test Purchasing
Fermanagh & Omagh District Council is committed to raising awareness among retailers about the law regarding the sale of tobacco products to under 18’s.  Officers carry out visits to Tobacco Retailers throughout the Council area to ensure they are aware of their legal responsibilities.  Officers carry out test purchasing exercises to ensure Business owners comply with and are aware of the law.  During the test purchasing exercises a child volunteer is sent into the retail premises to try to purchase tobacco products.  Formal action may be taken against any retailer who sells such products to under 18’s.