Smoke Free

It is a legal requirement that virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England must be smoke free with the introduction of the Smoking Ban. Smoke Free England will ensure a healthier environment, so everyone can socialise, relax, travel, shop and work free from second hand smoke.

To make a complaint with regard to breaches of the Smoke Free legislation please contact us using the details below or phone the Government's Smoke Free Compliance line on 0800 5871667 who will pass the complaint on to the relevant local authority.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the smoke free law do?

Under the Smoke Free legislation virtually all enclosed public places, workplaces, public vehicles and work vehicles are to be smoke free. This means:

  • it is an offence to smoke in smoke free premises or vehicles
  • it is an offence for those who control or manage smoke free premises or vehicles to fail to prevent smoking in the premises or vehicle
  • it is an offence for people who occupy or manage smoke free premises or vehicles to not display the required no-smoking signs at the premises or within the vehicle

What are the penalty amounts?

The penalties and fines for the smoke free offences set out in the Health Act 2006 are:

  • Smoking in a smoke free premises or vehicle: a fixed penalty notice of £50 (discounted to £30 if paid within 15 days from the issue of a notice) or a fine by a court not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale (up to £200)
  • Failure to display no smoking signs in smoke free premises and vehicles as required by the new law: a fixed penalty notice of £200 (discounted to £150 if paid within 15 days from the issue of a notice) or a fine by a court not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (up to £1000)
  • Failing to prevent smoking in a smoke free premises or vehicle: a fine by a court not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (up to £2500).

Which places must be smoke free? (enclosed and substantially enclosed premises

Smoke Free Premises

The smoke free law applies to virtually all enclosed or substantially enclosed premises that are open to the public or used as a place of work (by more than one person or where members of the public might attend to receive or provide goods or services). This includes both permanent structures and temporary ones such as tents and marquees. A roof includes any fixed or movable structures, such as canvas awnings.

Enclosed - Premises will be considered to be enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof and, except for doors, windows or passageways, are wholly enclosed, whether on a permanent or temporary basis.

Substantially Enclosed - Premises will be considered to be substantially enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof, but have an opening in the walls, which is less than half of the total area of walls. The area of the opening does not include doors, windows or any other fittings that can be opened or shut.

Indoor smoking rooms in public places and workplaces are not allowed.

If you require further guidance on whether your premises are 'enclosed' or 'substantially enclosed' please contact Regulatory Services on 01785 619402.

Smoke Free Vehicles

The law requires vehicles to be smoke free at all times if they are used:

  • to transport members of the public
  • in the course of paid or voluntary work by more than one person - regardless of whether they are in the vehicle at the same time.
  • Vehicles that are used primarily for private purposes will not be required to be smoke free.

I am a mini cab driver; can I smoke in my own vehicle if I don't have any passengers?

No. All vehicles used for public transport will be required to be smoke free at all times. This will mean that a member of the public can be sure that the public transport they use will be free from hazardous second hand smoke at all times.

What signage do I have to display? (premises and vehicles)

The law will require no-smoking signs to be displayed in all smoke free premises and vehicles. Signs will make it clear which premises and vehicles are smoke free and demonstrate that you are taking the necessary steps to meet the requirements of the new law.

Required signage for smoke free premises

No-smoking signs will need to be displayed in a prominent position at every public entrance to smoke free premises. These must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • be a minimum of A5 in area (210mm x 148mm)
  • display the international no-smoking symbol* at least 70mm in diameter
  • carry the following words in characters that can be easily read: 'No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises'
  • A smaller sign consisting of the international no-smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter may instead be displayed at entrances to smoke free premises that are: only used by members of staff, providing the premises displays at least one A5 area sign, or located within larger smoke free premises, such as a shop within an indoor shopping centre.

Required signage for smoke free vehicles

Smoke free vehicles will need to display a no-smoking sign in each compartment of the vehicle in which people can be carried. This must show the international no smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter.

How do I develop a smoke free policy?

Contact Regulatory Services on 01785 619402 for advice on no smoking policies.

What about a smoking shelter?

There is no requirement to provide smoking shelters. If you do have an outside smoking shelter or area, you will need to be sure that it is not 'enclosed' or 'substantially enclosed' as defined by the law. (No requirement for a shelter to be a certain distance away from a wall).

Please discuss any plans for smoking shelters with the Planning department or Regulatory Services, as there may be a range of issues you need to consider. These might include planning permission, licensing, building control, noise and litter.

What sort of smoking does the law cover?

The legislation covers the smoking of tobacco or anything that contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance, including manufactured cigarettes, hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes and cigars.

This means that anything that is smoked is covered by smoke free law, including manufactured and hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes, cigars, herbal cigarettes and water pipes (including shisha, hookah and hubble-bubble pipes).

How can I support staff and customers who want to quit?

If you think you are ready to go smoke free there's no need to struggle alone. TimetoQuit is a free local NHS stop smoking service. Their team of friendly advisors will give you expert advice and support to help you stop smoking.

For further information visit NHS Smoke free

Contact Health and Housing Services on 01785 619000 for details regarding smoking cessation services advice available for staff at businesses.

How will the law be enforced?

Stafford Borough Council enforces the smoke free legislation. Advice and guidance to help businesses comply with the legislation is available from Regulatory Services and regular visits will be carried out to check compliance.

Will smoking be banned outside? E.g. outside pubs, on streets

The Health Act 2006 also includes powers to make non-enclosed places smoke free if there is 'significant risk that, without designation, persons present there would be exposed to significant quantities of smoke'. At present, the Government does not intend to make any non-enclosed place smoke free.

Does the legislation cover sports stadiums?

Many sports stadiums are already smoke free.

Parts of stadiums that are enclosed or substantially enclosed will be required to be smoke free.

What places are exempt under the regulations?

The Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations include exemptions for bedrooms in hotels, and for care homes, hospices and prisons. In most cases, exemptions do not apply to the entirety of premises, but to 'designated rooms', that must meet requirements specified in the regulations.

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