Proxy purchasing of tobacco and nicotine products
Proxy purchasing of tobacco and nicotine products

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Proxy purchasing of tobacco and nicotine products
  • Elements of the offence
  • Statutory defences
  • Enforcement
  • Sanctions on breach

In England and Wales it is an offence for an adult to buy or attempt to buy tobacco or tobacco related products on behalf of an individual under 18 years old. This is also known as 'proxy purchasing'. The offence is committed by the adult who has attempted, or is attempting, to purchase the restricted product rather than the retailer who is selling the product. The sale of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products to an person under 18 years old, committed by the retailer, is a separate offence under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, section 7 (CYPA 1933). For more information on the offence of selling tobacco to a person under 18, see Practice Note: Sale of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products to a person under the age of 18.

This separate offence has been created as part of the continued aim to reduce the number of children becoming addicted to cigarettes and tobacco and specifically includes e-cigarettes and associated parts of such products due to concerns that the increased use of e-cigarettes places children at risk of addiction.

Elements of the offence

For an offence to be committed, the person who is aged 18 or over must:

  1. buy or attempt to buy

  2. tobacco, cigarette papers or a relevant nicotine product

  3. on behalf of an individual who is under