Proxy Purchasing

An adult who buys or attempts to buy tobacco, cigarette papers or a nicotine vapour product on behalf of someone under 18 commits an offence. This is called ‘proxy purchasing’.

It can be difficult to know if an adult intends to buy a product for a minor and it is easy to assume that if a customer is accompanied by a minor that they are purchasing it for them. Proxy sales, like for most age restricted product industries, are a significant issue for the vaping sector.

Some key things to look out for if you believe an adult could be conducting a proxy purchase are:

  • Is the adult asking a minor what kind of vaping product (flavour, device, etc.) they would like?
  • Is a minor acting generally as if the vaping product is for them?
  • Are minors hanging around outside a store asking adults to purchase products on their behalf?
  • Is a regular customer purchasing an unusual product that may be popular with young people?
  • It is important for staff to be mindful of periods of time where they may experience more minors attempting to buy vaping products.
  • Staff should be made aware of school holiday periods to ensure they understand that minors may be around during the week more often than usual.
  • It is essential that staff consider the importance of age restrictions at all times. During busy retail periods, staff may be incredibly busy but must still remain vigilant to underage sales.

Retail outlets are only expected to act when it is obvious that a proxy sale is taking place, but it is important that outlets always stay vigilant to proxy sales.