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Tobacco control

  • Tobacco Register NI

    Under the Tobacco Retailers Act (Northern Ireland) 2014, anyone running a tobacco business in Northern Ireland must register with Belfast City Council. The register is a list of businesses that are accessible by the public and sell tobacco.

    If a person owns more than one business, each business must be registered at separate business addresses.

    Failure to register is a criminal offence and could be fined up to £500, or face prosecution and be fined up to £5000. This offence can be held on record for five years. 

    The registration process is free and requires you to fill in a form either:

    You can also download and print the form at (link opens in new window) and return it to:

    Tobacco Register NI
    City and Neighbourhoods Services Department
    Belfast City Council
    The Cecil Ward Building
    4-10 Linenhall Street
    BT2 8BP 

    For more information or to speak to a member of our Tobacco Control Team, call us on 028 9027 0428. 

  • Selling tobacco and nicotine inhaling products

    It is illegal to sell tobacco products (including cigarette papers) and any nicotine-inhaling products (including e-cigarettes) to anyone under 18.

    If you do sell these products to anyone under 18 you can receive a fixed penalty of £250, or you may face prosecution and be fined up to £5000.

    All age-restricted products should only be sold to people who have photographic identification proving they are over 18.

    Test purchasing

    We carry out test purchases for tobacco products and nicotine-inhaling products to check that retailers comply with the law.

    We can prosecute or fine anyone who commits an offence related to the sale of age-restricted tobacco and nicotine-inhaling products.

    How to comply with the law

    • Introduce a written policy, such as ‘No ID, No Sale’ or ‘Challenge 21 or 25’, for the sale of tobacco and nicotine-inhaling products. Make sure your staff understand this policy and sign it. 
    • Carry out formal training with your staff on a regular basis that tests their knowledge and understanding of the law and their responsibilities. Keep written records of this training and what it includes, and ask your staff to sign it.
    • Display a poster at the point of sale stating that it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18.
    • Consider introducing till prompts.
    • Keep records of any time when you or your staff have challenged a person regarding their age, including any refusals to sell an age-restricted product. Place this ‘Challenge Register’ near the till to allow staff to access it easily, as well as acting as a reminder to them.
    • Carry out regular supervision of your staff to make sure that your policies and procedures are being implemented.
  • Smoke-Free NI

    Under The Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 it is against the law to smoke in ‘enclosed’ and ‘substantially enclosed’ workplaces and public places such as bars and offices; the regulations also extends to work vehicles and public transport.

    The legislation was introduced to protect workers and the public from exposure to second-hand smoke and is enforced by our Tobacco Control Officers.

    An Individual can receive a fine of £50 or face prosecution and be fined up to £1000 if they smoke in smoke-free premises or smoke-free vehicles.

    Anyone responsible for smoke-free premises (including vehicles) are required to display no-smoking signs and failure to do so may result in a £200 fine or lead to a prosecution and be fined up to £1000.

    The law also requires those responsible for smoke-free premises (including vehicles) to prevent or stop a person smoking there and failure to comply may lead to a prosecution and a fine of £2,500.

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