The introduction of national legislation in 2007 means that virtually all enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and workplaces (including work related vehicles) in England went smoke free.
This law was introduced to protect employees and the public from the effects of second-hand smoke.
It applies to:
- smoking of tobacco and also to other products such as herbal tobacco and shisha pipes.
- places of work, education, health care services and private clubs or other unincorporated association
- vehicles including buses, taxis, company cars, ferries and trains
It does not apply to:
- vehicles that are for the sole use of the driver and are not used for work purposes by any other person (driver or passenger)
- vehicles which are only used for private purposes
Enclosed and substantially enclosed places
A premises is 'enclosed' if it has a ceiling or roof, except for doors and windows, is wholly enclosed whether this is on a temporary or permanent basis.
Tents and marquees will also be classed as enclosed if they fall within this definition.
A premises is 'substantially enclosed, if it has a ceiling or roof but with permanent openings in the walls which are less then 50% of the total area of the walls.
In simple terms, if a roofed area has 50% or more of the walls missing it is legal to smoke in the area. If more than 50% of the walls are present then it is illegal to smoke in the area.
Openings do not include doors, windows, or other fittings that can be open or shut.
Ensuring compliance with the legislation
- Display the required 'No Smoking' sign
- Ensure that nobody smokes in a smokefree area or vehicle
- Take reasonable steps to make sure that staff, customers, members and visitors are aware that premises and vehicles are legally required to be smokefree
- Remove all ashtrays
- Develop and implement a smokefree policy
- Inform anyone smoking that he/she is committing an offence
- Request that anyone smoking extinguishes their smoking material immediately or leave
- Refuse service to individuals who are smoking against the law.
The law requires all premises that are smokefree to display a prominently visible sign at every public entrance to the premises.
This sign must be A5 in size, display the international No Smoking symbol in colour at least 70mm in diameter and must also contain the words "No Smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises"
Where entrances are for staff only, if the premises displays at least one of the A5 signs described above, it is sufficient to display a no smoking sign simply displaying the international no smoking symbol in colour.
Vehicles that are smokefree by law must display a no smoking sign which carries the international no smoking symbol and is no less than 70mm in diameter. The sign does not need to include any wording but must be clearly visible on entering the vehicle.
Enforcing the legislation
There are several offences and penalties for not complying with the new smokefree laws.
- Failure to display minimum no smoking signs (i.e. one at every public entrance to premises and one in every work related vehicle): up to £1000 fine or £200 fixed penalty notice.
- Smoking in a no-smoking place: up to £200 or a fixed penalty notice of £50
- Failing to prevent smoking in a smokefree place: up to £2500
Specific guidance for Taxi/Mini Cabs, schools and residential care homes and hospices can be found below