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Smoke Free Legislation

Information on smoke-free legislation and on giving up smoking

The Health Act 2006 saw the introduction of Smoke-free Legislation in England which means that virtually all public places and workplaces are now smoke-free. Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed or 'substantially enclosed' public places and workplaces by making it an offence to:

  • smoke in smoke-free premises;
  • permit others to smoke in smoke-free premises;

Which premises are affected? - Smoke-free legislation affects all premises which:

  • the public has access to: e.g. pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, etc;
  • are being used wholly or mainly as a place of work, including voluntary work.
  • are being used wholly or mainly for providing education, heath or care services.
  • vehicles used for public transport e.g. buses, trains and taxis.

Exemptions -    There are exemptions for premises which are used as a full time place of residence for extended periods e.g. private dwellings, residential premises, and adult care homes. Designated rooms in hotels, hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation are exempt since they are places where people live even though they are not private homes. Where smoking cannot take place outside for safety or health reasons, then designated smoking rooms/areas may be allowed. Such exempted places include prisons and oil rigs.


  • smoking in a smoke-free place could lead to a fine of £200 - with a fixed penalty option of £50
  • failure to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place a fine of £2,500

We  will investigate complaints which we receive  and can take formal action when appropriate. To date we have been able to deal with all potential issues on an informal basis.

If you are trying to give up smoking the NHS provides a wide range of excellent and easily accessible smoking cessation services, please see

Updated: 23 Oct 2019
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