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Volatile Substances

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Cigarette Lighter Refill Gas (Butane Gas)


Anyone who sells cigarette lighter refills containing butane or a substance with butane as a constituent part to someone under 18 can be fined up to £5,000 or imprisoned for up to 6 months.

The only defence is that you took “all reasonable precautions” and that you “exercised all due diligence” to prevent the offence occurring.  This means that you set up a system of control that took due regard to the risks involved, and that you periodically check to make sure your system operates correctly and you can prove it. Please see the section Good Practice Advice and Guidance (can a hyperlink to this section be created?) for further information.

You must take all reasonable steps to make sure a young customer is 18 or over.  If in doubt, you must ask for identification. If the young person has no identification or you are in doubt about its authenticity you must refuse to serve the young person.

Butane gas in cigarette lighter refills is the most commonly abused volatile substance. Over 50% of all volatile substance abuse deaths are related to butane gas.

Approximately a third of those who die abusing cigarette lighter refills are first time users.

Death rates in Northern Ireland are higher than in other parts of the UK.

Good Practice Advice and Guidance

Refusals Register Example
VSA and the Law
About Butane Gas

Useful Website:

Re-solv website: http://www.re-solv.org/

Complaints and Requests

If you require any advice, signage or would like to make a complaint, please contact a member of the Tobacco Control Team on the number below.