Age restricted products & solvent abuse – advice for all

The law makes the selling of age restricted products to those under age a criminal offence, with various penalties.

Retailers should be clear how the law and safeguarding responsibilities apply to them. Such products include:

Legal minimum age
Tobacco Products18
Videos, DVDs and computer games (varies with
PEGI classifications)
3 -18
Lottery tickets and scratch cards16
Lighter refills containing Butane18
Solvents and volatile substances18
Knives and offensive weapons18
Aerosol paint containers16


For more information on all of these products visit Trading Standards Manchester who aim to support businesses by raising awareness and promoting good practice and operate a policy of ‘prevention through advice’ by providing guidance to businesses on legislative requirements and associated best practice in an attempt to maximise the level of compliance with the law.

There is further useful information provided by the Manchester City Council Licensing Unit on the City council’s website

Solvent Abuse

Solvent abuse is the inhaling (sniffing) of fumes given off by a wide range of solvent based products, cigarette lighter refills and aerosols.

Sales of Intoxicating Substances (Solvents)
It is an offence to supply or offer to supply any intoxicating substances to a person under the age of 18 where the shopkeeper may reasonably believe that the product will be used for intoxication.

It is also an offence to supply butane gas, such as a cigarette lighter refills containing butane, to any person under the age of 18. This is irrespective to whether the seller knew or suspected it was likely to be abused.

The penalty for breaking this law or the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 is a maximum fine of £5000 or up to 6 months in prison or both. Products include:

  • Butane gas cigarette lighter refills
  • Hairspray
  • Liquefied domestic gas
  • Other aerosols
  • Solvent based adhesives
  • Some typewriter correction fluids
  • Deodorant aerosols
  • Petrol
  • Pain relief sprays
  • Certain paints, paint thinners and remover
  • Aerosol air fresheners
  • Dry-cleaning agent
  • Petrol Lighter fuel
  • Nail varnish and varnish remover
  • Shoe and metal polish
  • Plaster remover.

As detailed in the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985/The Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999

More information:


Got a question?

Use our quick Q+A to find commonly asked quesitons.

Can’t find what you are looking for?

View our resources page

Latest News and Training & Events

We try to keep our newsfeed as up to date as possible and feature items of interest to practitioners and volunteers across our partnerships




Anyone who has been affected by the suicide of a loved one knows how devastating ...



The Manchester Safeguarding Partnership (formerly Manchester Safeguarding Adults ...




Date:  Thursday 3rd October 2019      Time:  2 -3.00 pm (1.45 pm Registrat...



Date: 11th February 2020Venue: LeedsNext year's conference will explore ...


GMFRS logo
nwas logo
CPS logo
Christie logo
Cafcass logo
GMSP logo
hw_manchester logo
Macc logo
PAHT logo
MFT logo
mhcc logo
NHS England logo
CRC logo
NPS logo
GMP logo
Barnardo's logo
MCC logo
Manchester Safeguarding Boards