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Smoke free premises and vehicles

There is separate smoke-free legislation applicable in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Electronic cigarettes: these are not currently covered by smoke-free legislation although future regualtion, perhaps as a result of EU legislation, cannnot be ruled out. Owners of premises and cars are in general free to forbid or restrict their use. See: Tobacco e-cigarettes and related products

England and Wales

Under the Health Act 2006 certain premises and vehicles are designated as “smoke-free”.
Smoke-free premises: premises are smoke-free if and when they are open to the public. However premises are smoke-free all the time if they are used as a place of work:

* by more than one person (even if the persons who work there do so at different times, or only intermittently) or

* where members of the public might attend for the purpose of seeking or receiving goods or services from the person or persons working there (even if members of the public are not always present).

If only part of the premises is open to the public or used as a place of work, the premises are smoke-free only to that extent. In any case, premises are smoke-free only in those areas which are enclosed or substantially enclosed.

Smoke-free vehicles: an enclosed vehicle and any enclosed part of a vehicle is smoke-free if it is used by members of the public or a section of the public (whether or not for reward or hire).

smoke free signThere are separate detailed regulations for England and for Wales. These provide for no smoking signs to be exhibited and some premises, or areas of premises, not to be smoke-free e.g. designated hotel rooms, subject to certain conditions (see the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006, Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007, the Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) Regulations 2007 and the the Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2007.

With effect from 1st October 2012, the Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2012 (2012 No. 1536) (England) replaced the the Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2007 (“the 2007 Regulations”) in respect of England whereby the detailed requirements for no smoking signs prescribed by the 2007 Regulations were replaced by a requirement that at least one legible no-smoking sign must be displayed:

* in smoke-free vehicles; and

* in smoke-free premises.

“Smoking” refers to smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance. Smoking includes being in possession of lit tobacco or of anything lit which contains tobacco, or being in possession of any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked.

Criminal enforcement

Fines: under the various regulations, it is an offence for a person who controls or is involved in the management of smoke-free premises to fail to prevent smoking (punishable by a fine up to standard scale level 4), to fail to display no smoking signs (fine up to level 3) and to smoke in smoke-free premises (fine up to level I). See Standard scale fines for the amounts laid down.
Fixed penalties: there is also power for an enforcement officer to impose a fixed penalty of £200 with a £50 discount in certain circumstances.

Further information

For further information, do an internet search on "smokefree england 2007" in order to view archived government information about the introduction of smoke-free legislation..

Northern Ireland

Separate smoke-free legislation applies in Northern Ireland. For further information, see


Separate smoke-free legislation applies in Scotland. For further information, see Scottish Business Gateway

[Page updated: 20/01/2015]


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smake free poster