Smoke-free premises and vehicles
If you work or run a business, regulations that came into force in 2007 will affect you. Workplaces include such activities as driving taxis or delivery vehicles.
From 1 July 2007 smoking is prohibited in enclosed or partially enclosed buildings and some vehicles. In other words, it is an offence to smoke in an indoor enclosed workplace or public place.
Smoking is still allowed outside as long as it is not in an enclosed or partially enclosed structure. This means that virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces will be smoke-free, including pubs, clubs, private membership clubs, caf├®s, restaurants, shopping centres, offices, and all public and work transport.
The Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 set out definitions of "enclosed" and "substantially enclosed".
Licensed vehicles such as taxis and minicabs must be smoke-free at all times. Even if the vehicle is being used as a private car and the driver is off duty, they cannot smoke in their vehicle.
The legislation covers all company and work vehicles, like delivery vans and lorries, that are used by more than one person. Even if there is only one person in it, and more than one person sometimes uses the vehicle, it has to be smoke-free at all times.
The Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations set out the exemptions to smoke-free legislation and vehicles required to be smoke-free.
All smoke-free premises and vehicles need to display no-smoking signs that meet the requirements of the law. No-smoking signs 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 smoke-free law.
No-smoking signs will need to be displayed in a prominent position at every 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 on 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 (for example, a shop within an indoor shopping centre).
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.
You are free to design and print your own no-smoking signs as long as they meet the minimum requirements. These can be personalised by changing the words "these premises" to refer to the name or type of premises.
The international no-smoking symbol consists solely of a graphic representation of a single burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle of at least 70mm in diameter with a red bar across it.
Smoking in smoke-free premises or vehicles is against the law. The person with management responsibility for the premises or vehicle is legally responsible for preventing smoking as well.
Smoke-free law will be enforced by local councils and port health authorities, within the areas for which they have responsibilities. The approach local councils will take to enforcement is based on supporting businesses and the public to comply with the smoke-free law by providing advice, support and information at first.
Formal enforcement action should only be needed when the seriousness of the cases warrants such action.
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 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 £1,000)
- 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 £2,500).