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Smoking Ban

The smoking ban is UK-wide and in England, is enforced via a suite of regulations known as the Smoke-free legislation. The legislation is designed to protect workers and members of the public from being exposed to tobacco smoke in places of work and premises open to the public.

Inspectors can enter all 'no-smoking premises' also known as 'smoke-free premises', to establish that the smoke-free legislation is being enforced. Inspectors can also issue fixed penalty notices to people they believe are committing, or have committed an offence. If you are in charge of smoke-free premises you have a legal responsibility to prevent people from smoking on the premises.

Smoking shelters

If you are a business owner, you do not have to provide facilities to staff who smoke and there is no legal requirement to provide a smoking shelter. Any smoking shelter you have must comply with regulations. You can find more information in the Smoking Shelter Guidance document.

Please note that for a smoking shelter you must consider:

If you need planning permission. Permanent structures built for smoking will need planning permission in most cases. You can find out more on the Do I need planning permission page.

If you need building regulation approval. Detached, modestly sized shelters do not need approval. However, if the floor area of the shelter is greater than 15m2, there may be restrictions if the shelter is within one metre of a boundary. Any shelter over 30m2 will need approval, as well as any shelter attached to a building

If the shelter is legal. Your shelter must not be more than 50% enclosed. If it has a ceiling/roof and has walls and sides that enclose more than 50% of it. This is termed "the 50% rule."

The location of your shelter. You must take into account:

  1. The noise that will be created
  2. Any extra lighting that might potentially cause a nuisance to the neighbours
  3. Whether the shelter is safely accessible
  4. Location to other building and the potential of smoke drift entering neighbouring properties via vents, windows or doors

The material of the shelter. If you want to use parasols, umbrellas or gazebos, you must consider if:

  1. The material is fire retardant
  2. The material is strong enough to resist wind
  3. It meets the 50% rule mentioned above


Penalties Who is liable FPN (if paid in 15 days) FPN (if pain in 29 days) Court awarded fine
Smoking in a smokefree place Anyone who smokes in a smoke-free place £30 £50 Up to £200
Failing to display no-smoking signs Anyone who manages or occupies the smokefree premises or vehicle £150 £200 Up to £1000
Failing to prevent smoking in a smokefree place Anyone who manages or controls the smokefree premises or vehicle N/A N/A Up to £2000

Anyone who receives a fixed penalty notice can choose to have the matter dealt with in court. If a fixed penalty notice is not paid the matter may also be dealt with by a court.

Smoke-free signage

All smoke-free public spaces, workplaces and vehicles must display no-smoking signage to indicate that they are smoke-free and to ensure you are meeting the requirements of the law. The signage must comply with 'The Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2012'.

If you have management responsibilities for a smoke-free vehicle, then you must ensure that at least one no-smoking sign is displayed in the vehicle.

If you have management responsibilities or you occupy smoke-free premises, then you must ensure that at least one no-smoking sign is displayed within the premises.

There are no other requirements as to the size, shape, content or location of no-smoking signs in smoke-free premises or vehicles.

Last updated 25 August 2023
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