Sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products to minors
Retailers have a strong influence over whether or not children can access cigarettes or e-cigarette products and consequently may become regular 'established' smokers. These laws are designed to ensure that fewer children can access tobacco and e-cigarettes, and become addicted to smoking and suffer the damaging health effects of smoking. See below for information on:
- the law
- tobacco products
- responsible person
- photographic ID and minors
- minors selling tobacco products
- purchasing tobacco for minors
- retailer's training obligations
- allegations process
- further information
Section 38A of the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Regulation Act 1997 states that it is an offence to sell or supply tobacco products or e-cigarette products to a child (any person under the age of 18 years).
A tobacco product is any product that contains tobacco or any other product designed for the purpose of smoking, for example, herbal cigarettes, shisha tobacco, pipes, filters and cigarette papers. Matches and cigarette lighters are not tobacco products.
An e-cigarette is a device that is designed to generate or release an aerosol or vapour for inhalation by its user in a manner similar to the inhalation of smoke from an ignited tobacco product.
The responsible person in relation to the sale or supply of tobacco products and e-cigarette products to a
If in doubt, ask to see ID!
- Driver's licence issued under the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 or under a corresponding law of another State or a Territory
- Proof of Age card issued by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles or by a corresponding public authority of the Commonwealth or another State or a Territory
- Passport issued by the Commonwealth or under the law of another country.
Keypassidentification card issued by the Commonwealth Key and Property Register or the Australian Postal Corporation.
A person under 18 years of age can sell tobacco and e-cigarette products,
It is illegal for anyone to sell or supply tobacco or e-cigarette products to someone under 18 years. Retailers should refuse to sell tobacco or e-cigarette products if they have reason to believe that
Expiation fees (on-the-spot fines) apply for the sale or supply of tobacco products to children. The expiation fee is $1,200.
For a Responsible Person, the maximum penalty for a first offence is $20,000 and for a second or subsequent
The Minister for Health and Wellbeing can also suspend or cancel a Retail Tobacco and E-Cigarette Merchant's Licence if the holder has contravened the Act or is no longer considered, for any reason, a fit and proper person to hold a licence.
Anyone engaged in selling tobacco or e-cigarette products must be given adequate training on how to avoid selling tobacco or e-cigarette products to children. This includes training any relatives or friends who might occasionally work in the business as well as paid employees.
Retails much ensure that all staff know:
- What procedures they must follow if a customer becomes difficult when asked to produce ID. Role-playing some of the situations that might arise can assist staff in this area.
- The consequences if they are found to have sold tobacco or e-cigarette products to a child. Staff must be regularly reminded about these procedures. Retailers may find it helpful to develop a store
All tobacco and e-cigarette retailers are legally required to display the A4 sized Sale of Tobacco Products and E-Cigarette Products sign (commonly referred to as a 'prescribed notice'). This sign is a reminder to customers and retailers that it is an offence to sell or supply tobacco or e-cigarette products to people under 18 years of age and that proof of age may be sought before a purchase is made. The sign must be displayed in a manner and position that is likely to attract the attention of the customer, near the point of sale (including, for tobacco products a vending machine).
Not displaying this sign can incur a maximum penalty of $1250 or an expiation fee of $160.
The Sale of Tobacco Products and E-Cigarette Products sign is supplied free of charge to all tobacco retailers by SA Health. See Tobacco signage page for downloadable copies or contact SA Health's Health Protection Operations on (08) 8226 7100 to arrange for copies to be sent to you.
For further information on selling tobacco products to minors, contact SA Health's Health Protection Operations on (08) 8226 7100.