Solvent abuse

Solvent abuse is the inhaling (sniffing) of fumes given off by a wide range of solvent based products, cigarette lighter refills and aerosols

Sales of intoxicating substances (solvents)

It is an offence to supply or offer to supply any intoxicating substances to a person under the age of 18 where the shopkeeper may reasonably believe that the product will be used for intoxication.

It is also an offence to supply butane gas such as a cigarette lighter refills containing butane to any person under the age of 18. This is irrespective to whether the seller knew or suspected it was likely to be abused.


The penalty for breaking this law or the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 is a maximum fine of £5000 or up to 6 months in prison or both.

  • butane gas and cigarette lighter refills
  • hairspray
  • liquefied domestic gas
  • other aerosols
  • solvent based adhesives
  • some typewriter correction fluids
  • deodorant aerosols
  • petrol
  • pain relief sprays
  • certain paints, paint thinners and remover
  • aerosol air fresheners
  • dry-cleaning agent
  • petrol lighter fuel
  • nail varnish and varnish remover
  • shoe and metal polish
  • plaster remover

Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985/The Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999