It is against the law to smoke or allow people to smoke in any public spaces or workplaces that are enclosed or substantially enclosed. This includes bars, cafes, restaurants, takeaways, any buildings which is used for work activities, offices and shops. These premises must be smoke free at all times
Vehicles used for work and by more than one person must also be smoke free, even if the vehicle is privately owned. This includes taxis and delivery vehicles such as vans and lorries. These vehicles must be smoke free at all times.
The law requires all owners or managers of enclosed and substantially enclosed buildings to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that all employees or visitors are aware that they cannot smoke.
An example smoking policy can be found within the guidance on smokefree smoking shelters and shisha.
For your business to comply you must ensure that:
- The entire premises, with the exception of an outside smoking shelter or open external areas, are smoke free.
- Signs are displayed in prominent positions throughout your business (normally at the entrances) to inform employees, visitors and members of the public that smoking is not allowed.
- Employees should be trained in how to manage and prevent smoking within the premises. Your business must have a clear management process in place to prevent or deal with breaches of the law.
- If you intend to allow customers and employees to smoke outside you must manage where they smoke. Attention should be paid to planning where smoking is allowed outside to ensure that smoke does not enter the premises. If you are considering providing an external smoking shelter the legislation requires the structure to be less than 50% enclosed. This means that more than 50% of the sides of the building/room needs to be completely open.
Failure to prevent smoking in a smoke free area may lead to the prosecution of the employer or the person in control of the workplace, building or vehicle.
There is also the provision in law to issue anyone caught smoking in a smoke free area with a fixed penalty notice.
Further information is available from the Smokefree England website.
No smoking signs must be displayed in a prominent position at the entrance to all smokefree premises and within smokefree vehicles.
The sign must:
- be a minimum size of A5 (210mm x 148mm)
- display the international no smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter
- state ‘No Smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises’.
A smaller no smoking sign containing the international smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter can be displayed at entrances used only by employees or within larger premises as long as there is an A5 sign displayed at all main entrances to the premises.
All smokefree vehicles must display no smoking signs of the international no smoking symbol at a minimum of 70mm in diameter in each compartment of the vehicle where people can be carried.
Signs can be downloaded and print on the Smokefree England website.
Residential premises are exempt from the law.
Visitors such as health visitors cannot insist that people do not smoke in their own homes.
Further advice and guidance for people working in the home has been produced by The Trade Union Congress (TUC) in coordination with Smokefree England website.
Premises which are residential and also workplaces such as hotels and care or nursing homes may designate smoking rooms. This does not extend to any common parts of the building or workplace.
There are three offences under smokefree law:
- Smoking in an enclosed or substantially enclosed premises. If you smoke within a smokefree premises you could be issued with a fixed penalty of £50 which is reduced to £30 if it is paid within 15 days of it being issued. You could also be prosecuted, the maximum court fine is £200.
- Failing to display the correct signage. If you are responsible for a smokefree premises and you fail to display the correct signage you could be issued with a fixed penalty of £200 which is reduced to £150 if it is paid within 15 days of it being issued. You could also be prosecuted, the maximum court awarded fine is £1000.
- Not maintaining a smokefree premises. If you are responsible for a smokefree premises and you fail to take reasonable precautions to stop someone from smoking you could be prosecuted. The maximum court awarded fine is £2500.