UK No Smoking Legislation for July 1st 2007

Smoke Free England Information
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Information about the SmokeFree Law on 1st July 2007

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All smokefree premises and vehicles will need to display no smoking signs that meet the requirements of the new law. Signs will make it clear which premises and vehicles are smokefree and demonstrate that you are taking the necessary steps to meet the requirements of the new law.


From Sunday, 1 July, no smoking signs will need to be displayed in a prominent position at every entrance to smokefree premises. Signs must meet the following minimum requirements:

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  • be a minimum of A5 in area (210mm x 148mm)

  • display the international nosmoking 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’.

You are also free to personalise your signs by changing the words ‘these premises’ to refer to the name or type of premises – such as ‘this gym’,‘this salon’ or ‘this restaurant’.

A smaller sign consisting of the international no smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter may instead be displayed at entrances to smokefree premises that:

  • are only used by members of staff – providing the premises displays at least one A5 area sign

  • are located within larger smokefree premises, such as a shop within an indoor shopping centre.



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Smokefree vehicles will need to display a nosmoking sign in each compartment of the vehicle in which people can be carried. This must show the international nosmoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter.


Based on experience from other countries, we are confident that people will respect the new law. However, you will need to be prepared to take action if someone smokes in any smokefree premises or vehicles that you are responsible for. The advice is to:

  • draw the person’s attention to the nosmoking signs and ask them to stop smoking

  • point out that they are committing a criminal offence by smoking in a smokefree premises or vehicle

  • remind the person that under the law you have responsibilities to prevent smoking and that you could both receive a fine.

You should consider not serving or providing services to a person who is breaking the new smokefree law by smoking in a smokefree place.

If a customer or visitor continues to smoke, you can ask them to leave your premises. If an employee breaks the law, you may wish to consider taking disciplinary action. If physical violence is threatened by a person smoking, we suggest you notify and/or seek assistance from the police.


The new smokefree law will apply to virtually all ‘enclosed’ and ‘substantially enclosed’ public places and workplaces. This includes both permanent structures and temporary ones such as tents and marquees. This also means that indoor smoking rooms in public places and workplaces will no longer be allowed.

Premises will be considered ‘enclosed’ if they have a ceiling or roof and (except for doors, windows or passageways) are wholly enclosed either on a permanent or temporary basis.

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

There is no requirement for outdoor smoking shelters to be provided for employees or members of the public.

If you do decide to build a shelter, we suggest you discuss any plans you may have with your local council, as there may be a range of issues you need to consider. These might include planning permission, licensing, building control, noise and litter.


The new law will require vehicles to be smokefree 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.

Smokefree vehicles will need to display a nosmoking sign in each compartment of the vehicle in which people can be carried. This must show the international nosmoking symbol no smaller than 70mm in diameter

When carrying persons, smokefree vehicles with a roof that can be stowed or removed will not be required to be smokefree when the roof is completely removed or stowed.

Vehicles that are used primarily for private purposes will not be required to be smokefree.

Ships and waterborne vessels will be covered by specific regulations that are being considered by the Department for Transport. More information is available from the Department for Transport by emailing or calling 020 7944 5427.


In general, the new law does not cover private dwellings. However, any enclosed or substantially enclosed part of a premises shared with other premises, such as a communal stairwell or lift in a block of flats, will be required to be smokefree if:

  • It is open to the public

  • it is used as a place of work, for example, by a cleaner, postman or security guard.

The law does not require selfcontained residential accommodation for temporary or holiday use (for example, holiday cottages or caravans) to be smokefree. The owners, however, may choose to make the accommodation smokefree.

Anyone who visits private dwellings as part of their work, for example delivering goods, or providing services such as plumbing, building or hairdressing, can download further guidance at


Any part of a private dwelling used solely for work purposes will be required to be smokefree if:

  • it is used by more than one person who does not live at the dwelling

  • members of the public attend to deliver or to receive goods and/or services.


Local councils will be responsible for enforcing the new law in England. In the run up to 1 July 2007, they will work closely with businesses to help ensure that everyone knows what they need to do to become smokefree.

Their approach to enforcement will be based on supporting businesses to comply with the new law. However, they will have the legal power to enter premises or board vehicles to determine if the new law is being upheld.

If you manage or are in charge of any premises or vehicles that the new law applies to, you will have a legal responsibility to ensure they become and remain smokefree.

A telephone line (0800 587 1667) will also be in operation from 1 July 2007 to enable employees and members of the public to report possible breaches of the law. This information will be passed to local councilsto followup as appropriate.

In other smokefree countries, such as Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand, levels of compliance are high, and the laws quickly became self enforcing. If you have any specific questions about how the new law will affect your business, please contact your local council.


Only a few premises will be exempt from the new smokefree law, and all exemptions are subject to strict conditions. Exemptions have been provided for workplaces with specific circumstances.

Exemptions are provided to allow managers to designate specific rooms for smoking in the following types of premises:

  • hotels, inns, hostels, guesthouses and members’ clubs that provide sleeping accommodation may designate individual guest bedrooms for smoking, but all other parts of the premises must be smokefree. Dormitories and other shared accommodation that is made available under separate arrangements must be smokefree at all times

  • care homes(1), hospices(2) and prisons may designate either individual bedrooms or rooms to be used only for smoking for use by persons over 18 years of age

  • residential mental health units(3) may designate either individual bedrooms or rooms to be used only for smoking for use by persons over 18 years of age. This exemption applies only until 1 July 2008 when they are required to become smokefree

  • offshore installations(4) may designate rooms to be used only for smoking

  • specialist tobacconist shops(5) may allow people to sample cigars or small amounts of pipe tobacco within the shop premises. Smoking of any other product, including cigarettes, will be prohibited

  • research and testing facilities may designate certain rooms for smoking only while the rooms are being used for any research or testing activities specified in the new smokefree law.

1 Care homes as defined in the section 3 of the Care Standards Act 2000.
2 Hospices which as their whole or main purpose provide palliative care for persons resident there who are suffering from progressive disease in its final stages.
3 Residential mental health unit means any establishment (or part of an establishment) maintained wholly or mainly for the reception and treatment of persons suffering from any form of mental disorder, as defined in section 1(2) of the Mental Health Act 1983.
4 Offshore installations as defined in regulation 3 of the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995.
5 Only specialist tobacconist stores that meet the definition in section 6(2) of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002.


When will the new smokefree law start?
Sunday, 1 July 2007.

Who will enforce the new law?
L ocal councils and port health authorities will enforce the new law and will have the power to appoint enforcement officers, such as environmental health officers, trading standards or local community support officers.

Does the law just apply to cigarettes?
No, it covers all substances that a person can smoke. These include manufactured cigarettes, handrolled cigarettes, pipes, cigars, herbal cigarettes and water pipes (including shisha, hookah and hubblebubble pipes).

Can I still have a staff smoking room?
No, but you can have an outdoor smoking shelter, although there is no requirement for you to do so. If you decide to, you will need to ensure it is not ‘enclosed’ or ‘substantially enclosed’.You may also need to consider other issues such as planning, licensing and building control, noise and litter.

Can I smoke in my own car?
Yes, the new law doesn’t cover vehicles used primarily for private purposes.

I share a work vehicle with another smoker. Can we still smoke?
No, the law is designed to protect smokers and nonsmokers from secondhand smoke. Smoking will only be permitted in work vehicles that are for the sole use of the driver and are not used by anyone else for work either as a driver or passenger.

I work from home. Will it be required to be smokefree?
If more than one person uses any part of a private dwelling solely as a place of work, then it will be required to be smokefree.

Does new smokefree law apply to premises and vehicles used for voluntary work?
Yes, the new law applies to all work, including voluntary work.

I occasionally use my private car for voluntary work, will it need to be smokefree?
No, vehicles used primarily for private purposes will not need to be smokefree.

Are no smoking signs required in heritage buildings?
Any premises required to be smokefree will need to display nosmoking signs that meet the requirements of the new law prominently at entrances. The new law allows flexibility for signs to be designed and displayed in a way that fits the décor of premises.

Where can I get more information?
For further information, visit or call the Smokefree England information line on 0800 169 169 7. You can also ask your local council for advice and support.

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