Name: Smokefree Legislation
Description: Smokefree Legislation

Smokefree Legislation

Smokefree laws

All areas open to the public including workplaces are considered smoke free zones where they are enclosed or substantially enclosed.

Areas covered by the law

  • All offices, factories and shops
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants and membership clubs
  • Public transport
  • Work vehicles that are used by more than one person

This means that smoking rooms and staff rest rooms should also be smokefree.

The smokefree requirement applies to all 'enclosed' and 'substantially enclosed' places.  Essentially a premises is considered as substantially enclosed if it has a roof/ceiling and is more than 50% walled.

A small number of exemptions apply.  These include certain private dwellings, designated bedrooms in hotels or guest houses, designated rooms in care homes, hospices and prisons, offshore installations, designated rooms in certain research and testing facilities, specialist tobacconists and performers.

What must businesses do

Employers, managers and those in charge of smokefree premises and vehicles need to:

  • Display at least one legible 'no smoking' sign
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that staff, customers, members and visitors are aware that premises and vehicles are legally required to be smokefree
  • Ensure that no one smokes in smokefree premises or vehicles

There is no requirement to provide smoking shelters, if a shelter is provided it must not be 'wholly' or 'substantially' enclosed.  You may need planning permission or listed building consent before erecting a smoking shelter so please contact the planning department for advice.


There are three offence under smokefree laws

  • Smoking in a smokefree premises or vehicle (£50 fixed penalty notice reduced to £30 if paid within fifteen days of issue.  If prosecuted the maximum fine limit is £200)
  • Failing to display a no smoking sign (maximum fine of £1000 if convicted, or a fixed plenty notice of £200, reduced to £150 if paid within fifteen days of issue)
  • Allowing smoking in a smokefree place or vehicle (fine on conviction up to £2500 to the person who manages/controls the area which does not comply with the smokefree legislation).

Smoking in Vehicles

It is now illegal to smoke in a car if any of the occupants are under the age of 18, click here for further details.

Further Information

Smoking at work
Smokefree England
Smokefree NHS - advice on quitting smoking

Last Updated: 31st December 2019