Smoking ban enforcement

Being smokefree helps to protect the health of all workers and customers from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.

Virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England are required by law to be smokefree.

What this means for smokers

It is against the law to smoke in the indoor parts of places such as pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants.

At work, smoking inside is a thing of the past, and indoor smoking rooms are no longer allowed.

Public transport and work vehicles used by more than one person also need to be smokefree.

What this means for businesses

Businesses are responsible for displaying non-smoking signs and ensuring people don't smoke on their premises.

Many businesses provide bins so when people do go outside to smoke, they don't litter the streets with cigarette butts.

A smoke free workplace policy

A smokefree workplace policy sets out for all employees the conditions and the areas in which smoking is or is not permitted. A smokefree policy will lead to:

Improved productivity with:

  • Fewer smoking breaks.
  • Reduced staff sickness through smoking related ill health.

Reduction in:

  • Exposure of non-smokers to tobacco smoke.

Reduces the risk of: 

  • Fires in the workplace.
  • Potential prosecutions under the health and safety law.

Legal requirements for businesses

  • Your workplace must be completely smokefree (smoking rooms are no longer allowed).
  • A5 sized 'No Smoking' signs are required at all public (and possibly employee) entrances to your premises.
  • Vehicles used for work by more than one employee (even if at different times) have to be smokefree and display 'No Smoking' signs.
  • Outside areas are not covered by the new laws, but you may want to consider making it a policy that smoking is not permitted within a certain distance from outside entrances. This will avoid employees and visitors having to walk through a cloud of smoke to get into the building.
  • If you allow employees to smoke outside your premises, you must provide a suitable ashtray/bin/fire bucket to prevent littering.
  • Dropping cigarette ends is a littering offence and could result in a £75 fixed penalty notice.

What about rest/smoking breaks?

  • Employees must be allowed a rest break of at least 20 minutes if their daily working time is more than six hours. Staff may choose to smoke during their rest period but they must not smoke in an enclosed or partially enclosed area.
  • You may provide designated shelters outside where people can smoke - this is not a legal requirement.
  • Your smoking policy should clearly state when and where smoking outside is allowed.

What happens if businesses don't comply?

We are responsible for monitoring whether local businesses comply with the law. Our enforcement officers are authorised to issue the following penalties, with the final penalty amount being decided by a court:

  • Failure to display minimum number of no smoking signs: up to £1,000 or a fixed penalty notice of £200.
  • Smoking in a non-smoking place: up to £200 or a penalty notice of £50.
  • Failing to prevent smoking in a smokefree place: up to £2,500.

Advice and information