Virtually all work places and substantially enclosed public areas in England are now smoke free by law
- Doncaster smoke free homes
- Smokefree-key issues in relation to smoking shelters
- Smokefree enforcement policy
The specific details of how smoke free legislation has been implemented are contained within smoke free regulations, made under powers within the smoke free parts of the Health Act 2006. The smoke free law came into effect at 6am on Sunday July 1st 2007.
The regulations and what they mean for workplaces, can be viewed at the Smokefree England website. This page aims to answer some of the most frequently asked questions by employers and building managers.
What places are required to be smokefree?
Virtually all enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and workplaces in England are now smoke free. This includes offices, factories, shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, membership clubs, public transport and work vehicles that are used by more than one person.
The law also means that indoor smoking rooms, with the exception of residential care homes, have disappeared. So anyone wishing to smoke will have to go outside instead.
Essentially it ensures that almost all workers, regardless of their place of work, are protected from the risks to health of exposure to tobacco smoke and guaranteed the right to smoke free air.
What do 'enclosed' and ‘substantially enclosed’ mean?
Premises are enclosed if they:
(a) have a ceiling or roof; and
(b) except for doors, windows and passageways, are wholly enclosed either permanently or temporarily
Premises are substantially enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof but there is -
(a) an opening in the walls; or
(b) an aggregate area of openings in the walls,
which is less than half of the area of the walls, including other structures that serve the purpose of walls and constitute the perimeter of the premises.
In determining the area of an opening or an aggregate area of openings no account is taken of openings in which there are doors, windows or other fittings that can be opened or shut.
'Roof' includes any fixed or moveable structure or device which is capable of covering all or part of the premises as a roof, including, for example, a canvas awning.
Smoking is allowed in shelters, which are not substantially enclosed.
What does the smoke free legislation mean in practice?
Employers, owners and managers must ensure that their premises are smoke free. You must put up ‘no smoking’ signs which meet the following minimum standards:
- displayed at each public entrance to the premises
- in a position that is prominently visible to persons entering the premises
- A5 (148mm by 210mm) in size
- include the international red “no smoking” symbol and the words: “No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises”
Workplaces which are already smoke free will also need to display the mandatory signs.
Where can I obtain 'no-smoking' signs?
You can obtain premises and vehicle signs free of charge from ourselves. Please call 01302 737867. They can also be ordered or downloaded from the Smokefree England website.
What about vehicles?
Vehicles used as a workplace by more than one person, whether or not they are in the vehicle at the same time, will also have to be smoke-free at all times. This is because tobacco smoke is absorbed into soft furnishings and stays around for weeks long after a cigarette has been stubbed out. All smokefree vehicles need to prominently display ‘no-smoking’ signs.
Are there any exemptions?
Certain establishments where people live and which are also workplaces e.g. prison cells, hospices and long-stay residential homes are subject to exemptions. However, this does not mean that smoking will be allowed throughout the premises. Instead, employers have to identify ‘designated smoking rooms’ which meet the following specifications:
- are completely enclosed, except for windows/doors, on all sides by solid floor to ceiling walls
- do not have a ventilation system that ventilates into any other smoke-free part of the premises
- if a door opens onto smoke free premises, it needs to close by mechanical means
- are clearly marked as rooms in which smoking is permitted
It is up to the management of individual buildings to decide if visitors will be allowed to access smoking rooms. The exemption exists for residents only and therefore should not be used by staff. There is no obligation for employers of exempt places to provide ‘smoking rooms’ if they do not wish to do so.
What about entrances to buildings?
Outside areas are not covered by the legislation. However employers may want to consider making it a policy that smoking is not permitted within a certain distance from outside entrances, so that staff and visitors do not have to walk through a cloud of smoke to get into the building.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
Enforcement authorities, e.g. environmental health officers, are authorised to issue the following penalties:
- failure to display minimum no smoking signs: up to £1000 or £200 fixed penalty notice
- smoking in a no-smoking place: up to £200 or a penalty notice of £50
- failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place: up to £2500
Do employers have to provide smoking breaks or outside smoking areas?
No, on both counts. By law, employers must give staff an uninterrupted rest break of 20 minutes when their daily working time is more than six hours. Staff can smoke during their rest period, if they choose, but they must not smoke in an enclosed or partially enclosed area.
As an employer you must decide whether or not to permit smoking elsewhere on your premises e.g. in open car parks, grounds, or shelters and you should indicate where smoking is allowed in your smoking policy. The TUC has published guidance on negotiating smokefree workplaces – see www.smokefreeaction.org.uk
Is there help for staff to stop smoking?
The NHS provides a wide range of FREE, easy to access support and advice to suit your needs. The advice is confidential and includes access to nicotine replacement therapy at prescription prices.
Call the stop smoking service team on 01302 640064 or log on to www.yhpho.org.uk/ for more information about your local stop smoking services.
Can I get help with smoke free requirements?
For advice on the smoke free legislation, contact Doncaster Council on 01302 737572
Or visit the Smokefree England website www.smokefreeengland.co.uk
Or log on to www.yhpho.org.uk
For information on introducing a smoke free policy at work view the following document:
- Smokefree Policy
- Download (407KB)
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- address: Doncaster Council, Civic Office, Waterdale, Doncaster, DN1 3BU
- tel: 01302 737548
- Smokefree Policy
- Download (407KB - PDF)